Monday, July 30, 2012

Cultivation and Personal Growth

I’m not really one for resolutions, but I am one for pretty regular self-examination. So, one of the things I am working on for this year is remembering to (1) be myself and (2) be true to myself. I was recently reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (a really, really good book that I highly recommend – even if you’re already happy) and she found that in honoring and accepting yourself as you truly are you can be happier. She gives the example that she really wants to be the type of person who enjoys Jazz clubs, but she just isn’t. So, she just says, “You know, I’m just not that into Jazz clubs.” It’s not that you don’t try to make personal improvements; it’s just that you accept yourself a bit more. This makes sense I think.

I’ve applied this to myself in the realm of my garden. I have always really wanted a vegetable garden. I absolutely love getting fresh veggies from the garden. My whole life – from my early childhood in Indiana to driving through the Texas Hill Country in our pre-FS life to just about every international adventure - has been punctuated with stops at roadside stands to load up on just-from-the-garden goodies.

But, here I have to confess, despite the joy I get from seeing fresh veggies and herbs begin to pop up from the soil, I have no real desire to tend my own garden. I don’t mind dirt and I love being outdoors, but I just do not have the skills or patience to manage the earth and the seeds and the watering and the sunning on my own. I wish I did. I really wish I did. Besides the fact that I would get the tasty, healthy pay-off, I have this romantic notion that a woman who tends a garden with dirty hands, a smudge of soil on her nose and a floppy hat must be very sexy…in a rustic, Little House on the Prairie sort of way.

So, anyway, I'm practicing being true to myself…and I hired a gardener. His name is Arthur and he works every morning. It’s autumn here (and the dry season) so he rakes the leaves and waters the plants. He also turned my empty, but perfect garden space into a true garden. And, he made these wonderful little signs! This little plot of land with its little green beans starting to pop up makes me really happy.  Having a reliable, kind and honest person to help it grow makes it that much better.

The garden spot - pre-Arthur
Green Beans!


Chinese cabbage...not sure what I'm going to do with it.

The view of our house from the garden


  1. I'm hired a gardener! I have my experimental garden this summer - of which I am quite thankful that it has been raining a lot because I no longer want to water my garden. Anyway - the kids and I each picked out plants to grow and I didn't realize until the end of the day and had everything planted that we had picked vines...

    I don't think I have a photo of the garden at it's peak - but one of the vines - the pumpkins - overtook everything. But - we do have 6 orange pumpkins growing and I hope we get to carve them in October! You know how I love to do that...

    We had cucumbers - which turned out white and really acidic and cantaloupe. Can't tell when to harvest them. We harvested one and it turned out we picked it too early. We lost the others when we were traveling and now I am waiting to see if I can harvest the last of the melons before the bugs get them. We will see.

    Love ya! Jen

  2. Well, I said I hired a gardener, but I'm making no promises that the end results will be better than yours. Although, he seems pretty good at his job. I am seriously wondering what I'm going to do with an entire plot of chinese cabbage though...szechuan sauerkraut perhaps?

  3. just search it on cooks illustrated - I'm sure they will have a solution for you!