An ode to gardening, harvesting vegetables fresh from the ground, & the feeling of contentment it brings
When I'm in the garden, I both forget and remember who I am. I forget the more superficial and temporary aspects of myself and remember what it is to be a human being- alive an aware- observing and interacting with the world that was born from the earth instead of the one we've built up within ourselves. My senses are swarmed with stimulation. The smell of jasmine, rosemary, lavender, and sweet asylum. The sound of hummingbirds, bees, gnats, and crows. Newly sprouted leaves, the first sign of peach blossoms, pockets of brightly colored flowers coming into full bloom... It's hard to express how it feels when you've spent hours with dirt between your fingers and sweat dripping down your back. When the sun starts to set and the air begins to cool and you look over this land that you feel such a partnership with... I've been working with this yard for nearly five years. I've struggled and I've failed- I've made innumerable mistakes- but I've also had my fair share of triumphs and well-thought, well-executed choices. And for as much reading and research that I do about gardening, nothing has been a better teacher than observation (and a fair share of trail-and-error, of course). I go out and walk around my yard every day and I observe. What's happening to what and why? If I do (a), how does it respond? And over time, all this observing has propelled me into this really lovely synchronicity with my little garden ecosystem. I am a part of it and it is a part of me.
I under-valued flowers for the longest time. I was so eager to be growing my own food that, sparing a few companion plants, I never gave flowers the time of day. This year is the year of the flower! (Alongside my fruits and veggies, of course). Looking out the window in the morning to see the beautiful, bright displays has a way of bringing a warm smile to my face. Watching the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds happily skip from one plant to the next... how can one not find that romantic? The color pallet alone makes me swoon. The pollination- forget about it! I'm over the moon.
This is one of the things I've been up to. Keeping up with this, building this- being in it. And let's not forget the harvesting! My first ever successful winter garden has been just that- successful! We've harvested armfuls of kale, lettuce, radishes, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Fresh fennel and fenugreek, snow pea tendrils and lemony dock- I can't tell you how culinary inspiring it's been. I assure you, I have indeed been cooking and thinking about food a lot these past few months. The garden reminds me of all of the most important things about food and about a dish. I've been simplifying, but also diversifying- exploring meals composed of many simply-prepared components that compliment each other in flavor, texture, and nutrition. For a while I was so caught up trying to be creative and try new techniques that forgot to listen to my ingredients and really respect them. I'm still proud of every recipe on this blog and I'm bound to make many more complex dishes, but I think that what you'll see from here on out is a little more representative of the style of eating I'm striving for- clean, delicious, healthful and true to the ingredients. Less fat, less dairy, less bread. More legumes, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and herbs. Good lord, herbs! If you have a garden of any kind, please grow your own fresh herbs. Your life will be forever changed.
So that's all I have to say, really. No recipe today- just wanted to share my garden with you, and some thoughts. All these photos were taken on my cellphone, granted in unusually perfect lighting, but regardless- I'm going to stop being self-conscious about posting potentially sub-par photos (I've already got some of those anyways, really) and start posting recipes again. I've even got a few saved up for you. I love preparing my own food and I love sharing my recipes and my thoughts on this blog, so while I cannot promise that I can always maintain regularity in posting, I'd really like to start investing time and energy in this blog again and exploring some new directions with it. Until next time!
Hi there! I'm Cara- plant ecologist, gardening addict, and whole foods enthusiast. My whole life revolves around plants, including my kitchen. Join me here at LWM each week as I post local, seasonal, plant-based recipes and write about my never ending quest to find balance and tranquility in this crazy little world.