THE JOY OF GATHERING THE FRUIT OF MY GARDEN
My mentor in psychology is Viktor Frankl, the German prison camp survivor, who wrote, MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING. He describes three kinds of values that give life meaning. The creative values are the things we do. The experiential values are the experiences we take in like a beautiful sunset over Copano Bay. The attitudinal values are the stands we take in life.
One of the most wonderful experiences I have is walking out to my garden each day and taking in the beauty of a ‘living work of art’. A second joyful experience as well as creative activity is gathering the ripe fruits and vegetables from my garden. Last month I picked the last of the bush and pole beans. Then we began to eat the Ambrosia and Serendipity corn. It was as sweet as the names. We cooked it in the microwave in its shucks. Tomorrow, I will pick the last of the squash from the 3 foot high and 4 foot long vines with large leaves that hide the fruit. I will also pull up the onions I planted back in December and let them dry out under my potting bench.
The tomatoes began to ripen two weeks ago along with some of the 10 varieties of peppers. I have had to cover the tomato and pepper plants with two 50’ x 6’ row cover material because the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Baltimore Orioles were pecking and eating the red tomatoes and peppers. Now I have to undo clothes pins each day to peek inside the row cover under the leaves and hunt for the ripe tomatoes. They are delicious! The ripe Gypsy Peppers and other red peppers are easier to see through the row cover. I have to guess where the Jalapeno plants are though.
I can hardly wait for the 12 cantaloupes to get ripe. The Purple Hull Peas are blooming and have many pea pods developing. Shelling the peas as well as breaking the beans can be repetitive, monotonous, and time consuming, especially if I am doing it by myself. However, the attitude I take is one of thankfulness and anticipation of the aroma and taste to come. Can you imagine sitting at our work island before a steaming bowl of southern cooked Purple Hulled Peas with a large skillet of cornbread already cut in wedges? We will add some tomato, pepper and onions sliced with Italian dressing. A pork chop or two will do.