One day in spring, with the sun shyly painting a little happy face in a sky dyed the colour of baby blue yarn, I decided to do it.
I decided to plant my garden.
Despite the fact it was a miniature garden, not much bigger than a postage stamp, I felt quite weighted down with the responsibility.
And so I finished the breakfast dishes, wiped down the counters and gave the floor a cursory sweep, finally grabbing some packets of seeds from the corner cupboard and heading outside.
I proceeded to plant the seeds with lots of optimism and faith and very little skill or knowledge. The happy face sun that had taken a bite out of the morning sky seemed to zero in on me and my humble efforts. Warmed by the sun, with the feel of the black soil in my hands, I felt awash with happiness.
Not wanting to waste any seeds I simply tossed in the entire contents of the packages of radishes, lettuce, carrots and beans into the rows and hoped for the best.
“Okay,” I said, making a mental note to self. “Let’s see if you can reap what you sow.”
I stood up, brushed the dirt off my hands and surveyed my handiwork.
“I love gardening,” I said to myself, all self satisfied and proud like I had planted a great big garden instead of this little postage sized one.
Oh well, a job well done is a job well done which is probably true except whether it was well done or not remained to be seen.
I have since learned I got a little carried away with my sowing. My radishes grew tall and skinny and not at all fat and red and juicy like my friend’s radishes. My carrots remained baby carrots for their entire life span.
But, much to my amazement, the rest of the seeds just kind of took off.
The beans took over the spinach and the peas went crazy, falling all over themselves, crying out in desperation for some kind of fence to wind their rapidly expanding selves on.
“Wow,” I said to myself. “I’m reaping. I’m reaping.”
This weekend I brought in this huge basket of tomatoes. Okay, the basket may not be huge, but it’s certainly big enough to be considered mid-sized. A mid-sized basket full of green tomatoes.
Picture that! Nice!
At our Saturday morning coffee break, the subject of gardening came up.
“You should see my tomatoes,” I said, all smug, smiling at my girlfriends over the rim of my coffee cup. “I’ve got so many and they are huge.” I cupped my hands, showing them an imaginary huge tomato. I exaggerated, of course, but, hey, so do fishermen.
My girlfriend then pulled out four zucchini from a little plastic bag she had brought in with her.
“Holy cow,” I said. “Those truly are huge.”
And so it came to be that I arrived home with two massive zucchinis in tow.
So far I have made chocolate zucchini bundt cake, chocolate chip zucchini muffins and fried zucchini with onions. And, still, I’m frantically checking cookbooks for zucchini this and zucchini that.
Good heavens! Will this ever end?
I still have one and a half of those green monsters in my fridge, waiting to be used.
I’m not so sure about all this reaping. It seems to only create a lot more work.
And I still have all those green tomatoes to deal with.
Perhaps it’s my turn to bring a gift from the garden to my girlfriends at our next coffee break!
One good turn deserves another and anyway they say it’s better to give than to receive.
Treena Mielke lives in Sylvan Lake and is editor of the Rimbey Review. She has been a journalist and columnist for more than 25 years. Treena is married to Peter and they have three children and six grandchildren.