…that I have not posted anything in more ages than I would like to admit. You see, the trouble, I have realized, with titling a blog something so aspirational as “Grumpy Gal’s Guide To Gratitude,” is that I somehow have to figure out a guide…not just some generic guide copied from the millions of self-help books and websites and blogs out there…but my own sort of guide to combating all that is grumpy making in this world of ours. It still astounds me that there is a billion dollar industry dedicated to selling humans the notion of gratitude and happiness. When I figure out just what it is about our species that makes us so open to feeling miserable, I may just make billions myself. After all, you never see a frog sitting around feeling sorry for itself. Or a potato bug. They just go about doing their froggy and buggy things and get on with living until they die. I could pull out old philosophers and thinkers and rehash their ideas over and over, or I can just admit I have no actual guide to gratitude.
However, as you may have noticed before I stopped posting for ages and a day, I have been rather obsessed with this whole gardening thing of late. I am not at all new to gardening. When I was little, the parents had a huge garden at our old house in Felony Flats. They grew terrible things such as tomatoes and eggplants that I hated. And delightful things such as corn and carrots which I loved. Momma says she used to can things from the garden, but I don’t remember that. I do remember helping Papabear dig and plant and pick. When we moved to our almost forever home when I was twelve, our giant garden space was cut in half at least, and Papabear, who never had much interest in taking care of things, refused to be the family gardener, so I took over. In our smaller space, I got to plant only things I cared about. Though I did concede and plant Momma a few tomato plants each year. My garden mostly consisted of corn, cucumbers, and carrots. Apparently I had an affinity for the letter C.
I never really knew much about how to garden other than what I saw Papa do, so I kept on with that. I did experiment with a few things, and I discovered the hard way that planting pineapple mint in one small corner of the garden meant that pineapple mint would forever control that corner while trying to invade other garden regions as well. When I moved out to the farm Momma and Papabear had bought for grandpa to spend his last years doing the things he loved best in life, I also took over the garden patch here. Again, aside from planting three grape vines and looking up how the heck to make grapes successful, I just kept gardening the way we always had.
This means that in spring we rototilled the soil, put seeds or starts in the ground, and let them go. Like my Papa, I was not (am still am not) much of a weeder. My early attempts at eggplants of my own and peppers were not highly successful. (Apparently, aside from rotating crops, it is useful to actually take care of soil!). However, my tomatoes, which I like much better now, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, zucchini, etc just kept right on growing despite my attempts to let them be choked with weeds. Each fall, I spent time picking tomatoes to give away, foisting extra zucchini on unsuspecting coworkers, and generally wondering why I was growing so much. I did make an attempt at strawberry freezer jam once. I grilled a ton of zucchini, but generally the garden was just a garden.
This spring, around about the time I always itch to get a garden going, I was also itching to get myself out of the grumps. Maybe if I had titled this blog, “Grumpy Gal’s Guide to Gardening,” I would not feel so bad about typing so much about my garden. In any case, I started to think about making the space more user friendly. So, I built garden beds. (Which I should have turned east west instead of north south.) I started thinking about how I could make the productive space function better. Sure, last harvest I picked over 1000 tomatoes and 100 zucchini, and giant broccoli, and snap peas aplenty, but the garden wasn’t a place I loved. This may have been because I was not home the spring before last to plant, and I came home to a garden which didn’t feel like mine, or it just may have been that I was starting down the path of all kinds of grumpy and didn’t really know it yet.
This year, things are different. I have eight new garden beds, paths mulched with wood chip (something I may regret at some point), potatoes in the ground—well, all picked now, and tomato plants which I am pruning for the first time. Getting into the garden has given me something to care about again. So I suppose I am very grateful for that. I just hope that all ya’ll who may or may not be following me (that is still kinda creepy), don’t mind that I’m talking more about gardens and less about a clear and direct guide to gratitude. I suppose, finding something that gives you something to care about and work for is a great way to get started being grateful. That’s my tip for today. Maybe you’ll get out there and get growing in one way or another too!