Wednesday, May 21, 2008


If one were to visit Minneapolis right now, it could be understood why someone would want to live here. May is one of my favorite months to be a Minnesotan. The bugs haven't really arrived (save the Noseeums around the Lakes), the days are clear and warm, the nights are starlit and cool and the perfume of crabapple trees and flowers fill the air. This is a magical time to live here and even better to bike. The heady scent of plant sex fills my commute and my yard is redolent with the blossoms of plum and pear trees.

It is when this occurs, me lovely Mrs and I get the garden ready. A trip to the garden center, some quality time with a rented tiller (ask me about my arms and back some time) and the planting begins. We here at the Yam household enjoy cooking, and cooking with fresh herbs is the greatest treasure of all. I have a lovely herb garden that gets sun and heat, so all Summer long, we get the best of basil (Greek, Sweet and Holy), oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram, savory, rosemary and more lives happily under the kitchen window. What sweet toil it is to hoe this garden as the plants give up their scent as the tool nicks a leaf and to pick fresh herbs for dinners, lunches and, especially, weekend brunches.

Last year's refuse is turned into compost and makes this year's tomatoes and peppers. Heirloom tomatoes have turned into a passion for the Mrs and me and the nine types we've planted will be about the only joy I can summon during the miserable months of July and August. I'm glad they're good for something...

I've added a couple of new peppers to the mix this year; the Bhut Jolokia and it's equally devastating cousin, the Dorset Jolokia. Also, a Tobagan pepper called "7 pot" (due to it's ability to heat up 7 pots of stew) and some not so hots for everyday food -- Jalapeno, Serrano, some sweets for grilling and some for sauce. We also planted cucumbers (I love cucumbers) and zucchini (because a freshly picked handful tossed on the grill is a great treat).

It's a bunch of work, but I don't mind. I love the smell of fresh dirt and good compost, the act of wrestling a tiller down the block from the hardware store to the garden, the sweet agony of tilling ever more dirt -- our goal is rid ourselves of grass completely -- and satisfaction of looking at gardens with sweet black dirt and new life and the promise of fresh produce in the upcoming months.

Twenty years ago, if I knew this is how I'd be, the young me would laugh at the current me. But, I guess that's fair since the current me laughs at the old me. Delighting in flowers and hard-won produce is worth it. I just wish I could have talked me into doing this a lot earlier.

You know, I don't mind getting older...


Jim Thill said...

I've always enjoyed gardening, and this year has been especially great with my 3yo daughter as my enthusiastic helper. She always asks me to find a worm that she can hold.

rigtenzin said...

I'm a newby gardener and enjoy it. I too have been thinking about your point of the younger me laughing at the older me.

Here's an example. Last night, I enjoyed my son's spring band concert. The kids are all pretty new to their instruments and the playing was awful at times, but I loved it. I remember watching a nephew's concert when I was in college and I thought the smiling parents were faking their pleasure. Now I know that their pleasure was a real as it gets.

I'm having some fun watching the changes in me.

the old bag said...

Likewise, I can't wait to chip away at lawn removal.