The garden is literally exploding right now. The wide and open dill flowers, the cabbage that curls into itself more each day, the sungolds turning, well, gold, and the peppers that appear from out of nowhere. The morning glories are almost reaching across the arch we made in the sunflower circle, where the sunflowers tower over Annabel's head (but not yet Harper's). We can see the ears of corn on the stalks forming, and a new flower blooms each day. It feels like fireworks in the garden each time I look, though far grander and simpler than any of those I've seen in the sky this month.
Last night, on my way to check on the potato bugs (I think they're winning this year for the first time, I just can't keep up with them), Annabel came running from playing with the goats and told me she needed a snack of peas. She sat down on the edge of the raised bed and began to pick. Just before dinner at the end of a long day full of adventure and sun, I could see she was exhausted and that sitting still for a moment might just be what she needed (before she crumbled). I diverted from the potatoes (see? the bugs win) and asked if she'd help me pick a basketful of peas instead. "Can I sit right here?" she asked, confirming the exhaustion. A few minutes later we found ourselves both all the way inside that raised bed pulling the last of the peas and readying a pile of stalks for the chickens to pick at. We talked of all things, side by side, and we worked in silence too. Of course, she ate more peas than she put in the basket, but that's okay. That's how these things roll. She impressed me with her knowledge of how the plant grew, what we'd do with the garden waste (it would go to the chickens or pigs, then to the compost to become soil that would then go back to the garden), and asked what we'd plant next in that spot now that the peas were done. My heart swelled, a little bit, in pride at this little five-year-old who has grown up no other way than harvesting peas in the garden, barefoot, with her Mama. And it was just about then that she declared (once again - this is a frequent Ani statement): "You know, I really don't like salads." And I said once again (as this is our schtick), "You can't not like salads, Ani. That's not a food, that's just how we describe a mix of foods." She gave me a scowl far too old for a five-year-old (older siblings, I tell you, that'll age a baby!), and said, "Mom....you know what I mean. All the green thingys you put in salads. Like the lettuce."
"And the spinach?" I asked.
Nope! Not interested!
"Kale?" I tried.
Yuck, yuck, yuck!
"But what about the almost white buttery sweet lettuce, you like that one right?"
Mom! You know....
So my little girl doesn't like salads....or anything 'green' for that matter (excepting peas). And as I was laughing to myself about that last night, I got to thinking about my kids in the garden over the years and that very typical moment that Ani and I shared. They've all had different levels of interest in the garden and that's changed from year to year. Maybe one of them will decide to manage one particular crop for the season...and more or less follow through with that. Or maybe they'll want a space of their own. Or maybe they're great at hauling barrels full of compost or mulch from here to there (in hopes of then asking for a ride somewhere). Or maybe they'll just stop by for a chat and find themselves weeding beside me without really knowing it. Different involvement, different kids, different ages. But I suppose the thing that stays the same is just that it's a constant in their life. That they can be sure to find me here, and that they always know they're welcome. And I for one, can count some of our simple moments together in the garden as some of my most treasured.