Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
As you read this we’ll be nearing Memorial Day, but as I write this just now, it’s Mother’s Day. Skies are blue and cloudless, with a summer-esque warmth quickly heating the day into the 70s. Though we didn’t know it as morning dawned, by evening we can conclude: today is the day of leaf out. The mountain ash on the south side of or cabin is noticeably opening by the hour. The aspens are suddenly green, and the maples have traded the red hues of their buds for the suggestive hint of green that will become their crown of leaves. Even the grass seems greener than it was this morning. Daffodils are suddenly blooming beneath the taller of our peach trees, and the trillium can be found wherever one looks.
The garden itself is changing, too. The onions are, seemingly in an afternoon, standing tall above their mulch (and weeds! encroaching by the minute!). The peas are winding their first tendrils to their trellis, and baby kale greens are trading their smooth sprouts for their larger, frilly mature leaves. The potatoes are hoed in, and beans (bush and dry varieties) are soaking for tomorrow’s planting. Brassicas, too, are awaiting tomorrow’s transplant, already stretching, reaching, wishing their roots to find ground beyond the flat in which they currently reside.
This Mother’s Day morning, in fact, actually began with brussel sprouts, twelve of them. Not because I was planting them, but because they were the primo gift of the moment. No wrapping nor hallmark card, just their vigorous leaves waving in the subtle breeze as they were handed over to my mother. She was thrilled, as her arsenal of spring plants were shy on Brussels sprouts.
Accompanying the flat of plants was a small paper packet, held shut with duct tape. Far from glamorous, but functional. My cursive handwriting had labeled the words “Pink Lupine, 2013.” These were saved seeds, saved from the gardens of a friend and client who had in turn saved seeds from pink lupines at her former abode on Prince Edward island. I had scattered some in the flower and herb garden outside our front door, and was now passing along the beauty-to-be to my mother. Lupine is her favorite flower.
Of course, depending in which corner of the garden or the woods you catch my mother, you could probably accumulate a substantial list of so-called favorites. But lupine is an authentic top contender. So this was a small and simple gift, but a satisfying one to give. Because, as I look about our homestead and smile at the garden, the herbs, the young starts, the wildflowers, and the fruit trees, I have to admit: The pleasure I find in each of these, and the knowledge which I have to work with them, stems in many ways from the ongoing enthusiasm and curiosity of my mother. So Brussels sprouts and lupine seeds seem like an important part of the my ongoing "thank you" this Mother’s Day.
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