Jane/Susannah/Sadie here, preparing to go on a working vacation . . .
Hey, Wicked People. Has a month gone by already? That means that in just a few days I’ll be leaving on a 5-day tour of Ohio’s Amish country. Even thought it’s technically a work trip, I’m really looking forward to it! In October’s post I’ll give you all the details.
So if you’ve ever been to Amish country, or can imagine a bit of what it’s like, one thing you might think of is carefully tended gardens. And you would be right. I grew up in an area of New York State where there is a rapidly growing Amish population, and I visit family there frequently. I’ve gone to Amish country in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and I’ve never seen an overgrown, out-of-control vegetable patch on an Amish farm. Ever.
The same cannot be said for my own backyard. It’s been a few years since we’ve grown any kind of significant produce (now we rely on local farm stands or our generous neighbors to bless us with their excess). But the old garden where we used to grow giant pumpkins as a family endeavor (largest: 475 pounds–which is a baby in the giant pumpkin world yet pretty darn big when you try to move it to display it at the fairgrounds) is still there in an unused area of the yard. We’ve never seeded it over with grass, even though it’s probably long past time to do that. But memories are harder to kill than violets and dandelions, and we let the garden stay, even though it now boasts an impressive crop of weeds. It’s also home to my makeshift compost pile, where I often throw vegetable scraps. (You can’t see the stuff under all the weeds, and it eventually decays, even without turning it)
I don’t specifically recall throwing last year’s jack-o-lantern seeds or carcass out into the garden, but I must have. I do have a vague memory of tossing out the seeds of a spaghetti squash this past spring. Lo and behold, about six or eight weeks ago vines started growing and flowering, all of a sudden it seemed, out of the old garden. Half a dozen small pumpkins set, as well as about the same number of spaghetti squash. The pumpkins are doing fine, beginning to turn orange. And I’m cautiously optimistic the spaghetti squash will turn a golden yellow and be ready to harvest. (I hope so, because I now have a serious hankering for Italian sausage, green and red peppers, and onions cooked together and served over one of those spaghetti squash…)
Life is kind of like my garden, isn’t it? Sometimes you make plans, till the soil, plant seeds in an orderly fashion, tend the young plants, and things grow the way they’re supposed to, giving you a predictable harvest. And sometimes you have to just toss stuff out there and see what happens. Maybe you’ll get nothing. Or maybe you’ll get a surprise crop that will bring you unexpected joy.
When was the last time you threw caution to the wind? Did something spontaneous? Or do you need to plan to do something spontaneous?