Autumn became a little aggressive last couple weeks bringing blustery wind, biting cold, and even flurries. Yuck.
This made me very glad that Adam and I had taken advantage of the sunshine the weekend before last and cleaned up the garden for the end of the season.
We tore out the remaining plants and tilled up the garden beds. All the herbs were pulled from their pots and composted; after trimming pieces we could still use.
Cleaning up a garden at the end of the season helps to make planting easier in the spring. You want to wait until the first frost, so that plants don’t grow back after removing them and trimming them back.
After a day of putting the garden to bed, I looked out at the empty piece of land.
It was hard to imagine that just a couple months ago that same spot was booming with life and vibrancy.
This brought on a little reflection.
The garden has given Adam and I so much more than produce. It has helped us grow. Learn. Expand who we are as individuals and together.
I read something somewhere that you should take time each day for your mind, body and soul.
And that is exactly what we did- without even knowing it- through this summer’s garden.
Outside of a pathetic attempt at green beans and a couple cherry tomato plants, Adam and I had never gardened before this summer. We learned so much.
We learned how things grow. How to take care of plants. The benefits of eating food from a backyard garden.
This learning made us want to know more.
We were open to new concepts. Tried new things. Created new recipes with our veggies.
We read. We researched. We attended conferences. We listened to old pros. We Googled and Youtubed.
As a strong, yet apathic student in my younger years, I don’t know if I have been so interested, engaged and excited about learning ever.
First? The injuries.
Two bee stings. A sliced thumb when making cucumbers. One very, very bad sunburn when I thought it would be a good idea to pull weeds in a bikini top. And an unfortunate canning incident where boiling water poured down my right hand, branding the outline of my claddagh ring to my finger.
Don’t worry… Adam happened to make it out unscathed.
Second: A lot of people ask if we were doing it for the health benefits.
And I would be lying if I said, “No.” And we did see them.
We weren’t doing 4,000 calorie burning Cross Fit workouts, but we were outside and moving.
We didn’t feel like we were on a diet, but we were eating more vegetables than we had in the past.
I didn’t lose any noticeable weight, but I also didn’t gain any.
However, one thing that is fatter is our wallets. Grocery lists were shorter than ever. We also used to eat out at least once a week, but since June, we have maybe been out to eat just a handful of times.
Tonight, I told Adam I was writing this post and asked him what he would say the garden gave us. Without hesitation, he said, “It has changed who we are.”
I smiled, because I couldn’t agree more.
As an individual, I felt like I gained a stronger definition of myself.
Ten months ago I was a young woman who worked hard trying to develop her career and liked to be with her friends. You might have gotten “shopping” out of me if you asked about my hobbies.
Kind of superficial. Very on the surface. Pretty boring.
Now, not only do I love working hard, being with my friends, and shopping, but I can go so much deeper than that.
There is so much more that makes me… me.
I love to spend time in the garden, getting dirt under my nails. I giggle with I have a gaggle of hens following me around the yard. I get so excited create something delicious with the fresh food from the backyard and share it with my friends and family. I like to learn more about local food growers, sustainable and self-sufficient living. I seek out hyper local restaurants and opportunities to share this new found passion.
I looked at Adam, who clearly was thinking of nearly the same things I was, and said, “But you know what was so great about all of this? What was at the core of everything? We did it together.”
Adam lit up and nodded.
Hours were spent working alongside each other outside in the garden with no other distractions. We laughed remembering the chicks when they were clumsy, little fluff balls that could entertain us more than any episode of Big Bang Theory. And the evenings in early June spent in the garden together catching up and checking out the changes in the growing plants with a glass of wine are memories that we both will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
I don’t think we needed it, but the garden did make us closer. It made us stronger. It made us better.
And we both cannot wait to see what next year will bring.