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I am afforded the privilege of eating home-grown vegetables because we garden. I love to put seeds or plants into the ground: water, nurture and watch them grow. We plant corn, peppers, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes and squash in either the “big” garden, or the “little” garden. My husband prefers the “tilling” method and breaks ground several times before planting. He weeds more often than I do. I put in some herbs, butternut squash and added an experimental section to the garden as well.

I say experimental, because I wasn’t sure if what I was trying to do would actually work. My plan was to lay out an additional small space without tilling it first. I put out newspapers and cereal boxes, topped it off with layers of hay, organic mulch and fertilizer, alpaca fiber and grass clippings. I chopped up small sticks and used them as a path between what would eventually become two raised growing areas. I covered the area with dark plastic and left it alone for several weeks. During that time I checked on the garden-space-to-be and yes, the earthworms seemed to be thriving. I hoped that would be a good sign for planting.

Now we are in “harvest mode.” My kitchen counter tops have garden produce covering them and only because of our staggered planting schedule am I able to keep up with preserving. I’d like to mention that our harvest has come as a result of both of our efforts: he likes his way of working, and I’ll most likely keep my additional garden space because I discovered it works for me.

This reminds me of a favorite poem I’d like to share:
Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


I think this poem has come to represent a good many things for me–not only with my choice(s) of gardening methods or vegetables to be grown, but in the choice of a creative path for writing and illustrating.

What will you choose to do today, and how will you do it?


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7 responses to “Choices

  1. Lovely Paula! Like all the veggies! Looks like my counter:)

  2. So nice to be reading what is happening on your farm. I actually have two butternut squash from the little plants you brought me several months ago! I really look forward to reading more from your valhalla.

  3. Your counter top is a painting. My gift squash from your garden decorated my counter, like a sculpture, almost too pretty to bake. It’s as if you live in an edible art museum! (The squash, baked, was more than a feast for the eyes.)

  4. Gorgeous! Your post brings back memories of gardens past, and makes me wish I could have one now.

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