I like having painted fingernails but rarely take the time to do so until it becomes necessary. How, you may be wondering, could painted nails ever be necessary, ever be more than just an indulgence?
It’s not something I do so much to show off as to cover up, for hiding beneath their glossy shine is dirt that refuses to be scrubbed away. My polished nails are the tell-tale sign that I’ve been out working hard in the garden.
It’s said that gardeners learn more from their failures than their successes and when it comes to the garden, some things can’t be hidden, disguised, or ignored. As the Irish Proverb states, it’s easy to be amiable when things are going well. It’s during times of adversity when our true nature is tested, when doubts about desires and dreams, and momentary wonders of whether it’s all worth it creep into our thoughts.
So our potatoes got blight, much of our beetroot, onions, spinach, and radish bolted, repeated sowings of carrots never germinated, brassicas were devoured by birds, our peas and beans worn ragged and killed by winds, and the pumpkins sown by the school children may or may not be ready in time for Halloween, just not enough warmth and sunshine this summer.
And while this all may sound like natural disasters, I hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that if only I had been home more, if only I had more time in the garden, if only I had my nails polished more often, some of this could have been avoided. Is the extra money I’m earning working away from home worth it if we’re buying veg in the middle of December? Definitely not.
Fortunately, things are not entirely bleak, and while we now have the arduous task of checking the stored potatoes weekly for spoilage, as I write this, Johnny is milling tomatoes for the freezer and has blanched and frozen other veg all week. Wild garlic has been dug, blackberries are beginning to ripen, two goats were gifted to us, and all except for peas and beans have been resown and are doing very well. Twenty litres of fermented pickles are made and semi-dried tomatoes stored in herb infused oils, and more veg is ready for harvest each day. Summer camp was a success, we sold more lettuce and herbs than we could have imagined, and we connected with someone, an expert in food and tourism, who has offered to advise us about our future business plans. There is even a lesson for the school children to be had if the pumpkins don’t ripen on schedule.
Another big decision we made concerning the homefarm is to hire out a couple of jobs–things that seem larger than life, causing undue stress because, as important and necessary as they are, we could never make the time to do them ourselves. This decision has made doing the smaller things much more enjoyable and rid me of the feeling that I ought to quit my job and spend more time at home. In fact, I will be working more hours for the last month of the season. Some things are just worth paying for.
And some things can’t be paid for, they just are the way they are. If you don’t like it then try to change it, and if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. So if a cow comes into your garden, try not to focus on the damage it’s done, but rather on the fertilizer it has left behind.
Peace, love, and joy–Melissa Xx