Returning to Our Roots | Gardening Mistakes
"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." - Janet Kilburn Phillips
Every morning starts out the same for me. My internal alarm clock wakes me up at 5 AM. Tad is sleeping in bed beside me, having crawled in from his own, and snoring laboriously. I lie there for about 10 minutes, staring at the ceiling, then to the door and out onto the garden. The sun is starting to come up, and I know that I should probably let the chickens out after being cooped up all night. Whatever will they do when it takes forever for the sun to rise in the morning, only to say goodbye early in the evening? I get up, put on a jacket and my mud boots, and head out to open their tiny coop door. They coo and squawk happily, one by one wandering down their little ladder, and then frantically run around and flap their wings like idiots. I, in turn, start talking to them like an idiot under my breath.
"Who's a pretty chicken? Who's a good pretty chicken? Who are my pretty girls?"
They all look at me with yellow eyes, their heads turning frantically as they listen, and then dart off when I try to scratch at them. Though they are tame, they still don't love being petted, and I don't blame them. I keep having to remind myself that they're not cats.
I'll walk around to venture inside the coop, to let some fresh air in there. I check their food and water, and then meander over to the apple trees to see how they're growing. Our Golden Delicious is just covered in apples, each cluster having three perfect orbs. The Honeycrisps on the other hand are not looking so good when it comes to production. I walk through our berry bushes, checking to see if blossoms are appearing. They are, by the way. By the time I reach the outside of the fence of our garden, my mind is just buzzing with ideas and inspiration, and more often than not, gratitude and pride. It is at this time of peering upon our garden, filled with lush greens and new growth, flowers blooming pinks and yellows, and little robins looking for grubs, I find that I am most satisfied. I see potential, I feel accomplishment, and I hear all of the people that said I couldn't do it. Those people that gave me a half-hearted, "Good luck," all appear in my mind.
You could call that prideful, but I like to keep it as a reminder to keep pushing. To show grace when I believe someone can't do something, or to just believe them and wish them well. Because I might fail, too. Looking at my garden, all green and beautiful, could be destroyed soon from who knows what. Maybe pests devour the tender leaves or a disease spreads, but that's something that I really can't control. I can try, and that's all I ever want to do. To prove the naysayers wrong, and to try even if it doesn't work out. It's those, "Good luck with that, that's a lot of hard work," that keeps me going.
There are surprises in the garden for those who are open to them. Every single day offers a new surprise, a new interest, a new life. Even today, I went out and clipped my first herbs. Those first cuts were tender and, honestly, a little scary for me to make. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right. I didn't want everyone to know that I was a faker, that I was just making this work until it actually did. But we're all kind of doing that, right? Life isn't perfect, and we all can learn new things, but it's with those experimentations and freedom to try something even if it doesn't work that makes a great story. It makes for a great business, and it makes for a great teacher. If you did everything right all of the time, you would have nothing to teach. So, yeah, people. I don't know what I'm doing, and I don't think that I'm qualified to teach you how to garden, but I can share my experiences. I can hope that you get inspired to grow your own food, because I think that's important. It's one of the most important things in life to me right now, and I think you should try it. We can learn together.