Is it Salad Yet?

For months, I’ve lamented over all things broken, fractured, lost and never-to-be-found again.  Today made up for every woebegone moment I’ve recently experienced.

This afternoon, for the first time — EVER — I planted a vegetable garden.  Well, except for that one unfortunate time years ago when I tried a summer garden, planting cantaloupe and watermelon side-by-side, and yielding what could only be called cantermeons or waterloupes, depending upon the size of the melon and your naming preference.  But I digress.

When we bought our home last May, the previous owners had, while moving out, packed up not only all their clothes and belongings, their pots and their beds, but they also trotted off with the entire kitchen and all the back yard.  The bank kindly rebuilt the missing kitchen, but the back yard was another matter.  That fenced quantity of remaining dirt was OUR dirt to do with what we wanted.  We designed a nice grassy area for the dogs, enlarged the patio and added a nice little sitting area — not that Phoenicians sit outside while their skin melts away from their bodies.  Nevertheless, here’s our small patio where, once the plants grow nice and tall, will take after its intention as our secret garden:

All around, we planted red hibiscus, ficus trees, a naval orange tree, a gorgeous crepe myrtle that enhances our view from the family room, several rose bushes in various colors, an unusual orange-colored bougainvillea and a spectacular Lady Banks rose that hangs over the front fence like a gossiping neighbor.  I don’t know what the old back yard was like.  It doesn’t matter.  We probably would have tweaked it here and there anyway.  Even in Arizona, not all is rock and cactus.  Here’s Wilson on the new patio:

This morning, the only thing standing between me and a completed yard were two raised garden beds, filled with dirt, a drip system at the ready and the anticipation of doing good over the next three months.

Over these past months while I often and miserably whined in my best nasal horse-voice how everything was crashing around my ankles, one lovely friend — most likely an angel in skin — mentioned softly that perhaps all the falling-down stuff was simply a way to help me notice other new and more important additions to my life.  She took my breath away, this skin angel friend.  Of course she was right.

Since our backyard was installed last June, I’ve noticed those two barren planting beds every morning when I opened the blinds in our bedroom.  Every morning since June I’ve felt bad about not sucking it up to brave the heat and at least throw some marigold seeds around in the waiting dirt.

Today I finally planted my garden.  I opened holes in the dirt and asked it to accept my salad of red leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, parsley, lemon sage, fragrant rosemary, spicy basil and one amazingly gorgeous tomato plant.

When I was done and everything was cleaned up, I walked back to the house, an old woman with her first garden; her back suddenly strong, her arms satisfied, her hands fulfilled.  I was also a little girl with her first garden; she was smiling like crazy, checking every few minutes to make certain her vegetables were happy and still standing tall in their new home.

For all my broken mirrors and plumbing and pool equipment and whatnots and thingamajigs that have keeled over and died during these past couple of months, these two small beds filled now with the promise of growth and nourishment have erased everything else because ……

I.  Have.  Made.  Food.

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