As some of you who have been reading along know, I have a lovely, fruitful garden. I take much pride in it, getting up extra early every morning and doing a walk through to make check weeds and pests are in check and to marvel at what sprouted over night. It is one of the most rewarding hobbies I have had. Until dinner...
Yes, I admit that having this awesome garden is a lot of work. I don't mean so much the work of maintaining it, as thanks to my husband's diligence of building rockin' garden beds, we don't have too many issues. Also, Mother Nature's serendipitous weather conditions this summer have allowed me to forget watering on more then one occasion. I mean the work of washing, preparing, and eating ALL THOSE VEGETABLES.
Don't get me wrong! I am certainly grateful with the amount of food we have, the amount of money we have saved, the biodiversity we have introduced into the environment, the fuel and other costs we have saved the American food industry, etc., etc.. However, it takes markedly more time to wash and prepare an organic (and "organic" looking - by which I mean very crooked with lots of nooks and crannies) carrot that is just picked then a previously washed and peeled baby carrot, or better yet, frozen vegetable medley, or even better, salad from the drive-through! OR, who are we kidding, if you're gonna get the salad, you might as well get the spicy, crispy chicken sandwich. And of course the fries and soda. 'Cuz it's a good deal so you'd be an idiot not to get it. Plus, you are on your way to take your kids to soccer practice and there ain't no way in hell you are gonna have the time to wash and peel a garden carrot. Right?
I know I am not alone, here. Our culture is fast, "now", "this instant", pack more into the schedule, hold your breath, you can breath later, as the world passes you by at an alarming pace. We need more time to blog, facebook, stare at our phones. We need to cram more into our days without really improving the quality of our days. (Why? Who knows?) What can we give up to accommodate this? Not sleep. Well, some of us, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms. How about cutting corners. Let's cut out meal prep, which up until the invention of the microwave oven, was a pretty critical past time. (I LOVE my microwave, BTW). Let's also forget about family meal time. Just grab whatever comes out of that wrapper and get back to what you are doing. This is especially true if you are a working parent. Who has energy to cook when you get home at the end of the day? Raise your hand! No hands? Wait, one, two?
Whew, I'm tired just writing all that.
Getting back to the original point : Trying to cram all the stuff into my day and cooking from the garden was...is a lot of work. But, it has made eating and meal preparation something that has to be deliberately made a priority. I have to plan. Meal time is an event. Every. Single. Night. The kids ask what they can pick. They like to wash. They like to chop. They recognize how each vegetable grows. What season it grows in. What is required to make it grow. While I cook, they sit and talk across from me. I learn so many secrets. (Like, that my first grader has already had the privilege of dining with her principal! A teeny detail she had previously failed to mention...) It slows down each evening. And yes, we have soccer. We also have guitar, piano, and Spanish classes. Mommy has been clever, though, and has found kind souls willing to come to our house. (Same cost, y'all!). Except the soccer. Boo.
This past May, my email function on my cell phone broke. The first day, it stressed me out. The next day, less so. By the third day, it was a relief that I was going back to checking my email to daily versus hourly (or more if there was a beep). My husband still asks, "How can you live that way?" I noted it was great to be disconnected. It gave me more energy to focus on another stuff. Like life happening in front of my face. In 3D, not 2D on a tiny screen. That is what the garden has done, too. Despite all the work, it has disconnected me from the crazy.
Disconnect from the crazy, people.