Life's Bounty

Look at them tomatoes, the plants are hanging heavily over the edge of the raised bed and bending the cages that were put in place to support them.  Greg has asked me several times, how in the world I think we will ever eat all those tomatoes.  It all began so innocently with a few packages of seeds back in February.  Some of you read the stories of planting seeds in one special tray contraption only to have every single one germinate and thrive.  Several weeks afterward I was trying to find room for seventy-two tomato seedlings on the table, on windowsills, anywhere there was sunlight.  Then we had the vagaries of a windstorm knock our number down so in the end only twelve plants were transplanted to the raised bed.  It didn't sound like many plants at the time and they were so small.

Having very little experience with vegetable gardening, it seemed like twelve small plants would be manageable.  Well, they have flourished much like the canada goose population on the swake this summer.  We have lots of geese flying back and forth overhead and lots of tomatoes on the vine.  I usually check the garden once a day when I come home from work, just to see how many more are ripe and to pull a few carrots or beets for supper.  It is a moment in my day when I don't need to worry about anyone else or about producing another project on time and on budget, I can just stand there in the wind and sun marvelling at the fact that while I was so busy being busy the tomatoes were ripening by the minute.  Checking the tomatoes reminds me to just enjoy the simple things and to not get caught in the misguided idea that I can actually control much of anything.

Every afternoon as I wander around the garden collecting ripe tomatoes in my bucket, a song keeps popping into my head.  As a kid, I loved Johnny Cash's gravelly voice and story telling.  The sight of that bumper crop of tomatoes triggers a memory of Johnny's song Look at Them Beans.  It's the story of a man's dreams for a bumper crop and for his family.  Simplicity at its best, recognition of the need for nourishment of the soul and the body with dreams and food.  My dreams for the garden, for the family, for myself have far exceeded my expectations so far and the year isn't over.   I'll have to scale my vegetable dreams back to a more manageable size next year or we'll be eating tomato sauce forever, but I think I'm going to keep the other kind of dreams big and huge because it is just so amazing what you can do if you only try.  Look at them beans -