The Most Satisfying Meal
I made chili today, a huge pot. I put ten quarts in the freezer for winter. I didn’t start making it today (8/25/2011), but rather in the spring of 2010. I planted some beans and let them dry in the fall, but last winter did not use them all. Then in March of 2011, I planted tomato and pepper seeds, followed by onion and celery. I watered and watched the little seedlings grow until they could be planted outside in the late spring. There was also two kinds of summer squash, parsley and basil that went into the ground. The oregano and marjoram already were growing vigorously and had for years.
I made chili today and all those vegetables and herbs along with the dry beans made their contribution to the most satisfying meal I think I have ever made. I was able to make ten meals in under two hours without leaving my own yard. There was no trip to the store to buy ingredients, all the food was organic and very fresh. There was no packaging and all the waste conveniently went to the compost pile or to feed the red worms (they make compost, too). I spent very little money on seeds. I really didn’t even “labor” in the garden. The plants did it all. They just grew using the sun, rain and soil. All they want in return for their work is our gratitude and deep appreciation. They have mine.
If you have never gardened, the final fruits of your labor is really just a small part of the experience: to be able to work with Nature and the plants, observing them, caring for their needs and letting them care for yours; to turn grass and weeds into a productive plot; to feel like you support yourself and your family without depleting the earth’s abundant resources; to greet the garden each day like a dear friend and be anxious to know what is going on; to learn about insects and worms, bacteria and fungi and our many other allies; to feel disappointment when rabbits share your harvest and joy at the taste of a vine ripened tomato; to be still and have a sense of wonder and awe. Clearly it is not just the meal that is satisfying.
Written by Nancy White. Nancy is a retired secondary teacher. She built and lives in an active and passive solar, high thermal mass home. She is an avid gardener and helps others to learn how to garden.