Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nurturing Connections

I was blessed to grow up with grandparents. Their loving care and nurturing guidance continue to influence me even now.

My grandparents grew up on farms, he in Nebraska, and she in Kansas. Being unable to support their family of four on the farm, Grandpa took a job as a mechanic at Lockheed in Southern California during World War II. Grandma soon followed with their two daughters (my mother and aunt). They never returned to the farm.

The farm, however, would always be a part of them. Some of my earliest memories are of Grandpa’s vegetable garden. Even in the smallest suburban backyards, Grandpa always found a spot to grow some vegetables, at least some salad greens and a few tomatoes if nothing else.

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. Here in northwest Washington, it was a beautiful day to work outside. It was almost warm, nearly 60 degrees, and not raining. My long suffering husband of a farm girl wannabe spent part of the day digging up the vegetable garden so I could start this year’s garden.

I set out transplants of Chinese cabbage, red leaf lettuce, and green leaf lettuce. I also direct seeded some leaf lettuce, spinach, and sugar snap peas. In a few weeks, I’ll direct seed more salad greens and peas. In about seven weeks, I’ll plant tomatoes and zucchini, and maybe some peppers. My garden here is small, so there won’t be room for much more than that.

Fortunately, the Bellingham Farmers’ Market begins in April. I’ll be able to purchase the many fresh offerings available there throughout the season. Working my tiny piece of land makes me really appreciate the work that goes into bringing these fresh foods to the market.

Grandpa passed away just a few years ago. I think of him when I’m planting and tending food crops, and I remember watching him tend his garden when I was a little girl. Caring for his garden was one of the ways he cared for his family.

Tending my garden is one of the ways I nurture my family and myself. Growing vegetables connects me to my grandfather, bringing him close for a little while. Bringing healthy, nutritious food to my family’s table allows me to share this connection with those I love.

How do you connect with your past and nurture those around you?

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather always had rows and rows of tomatoes. They were amazing. I think of him every time I eat a ripe, perfect tomato fresh off a vine.