four steps to paradise
We walked across the farm to the small herb garden at the back of the house. It was in need of weeding and some harvesting. Just like all of you gardeners warned, that mint was spreading like a crow's wing in flight. I cut off big chunks with my boline knife, curved like a little hand sickle, and then passed them in my left hand to hold until I could brig them inside to tie up and hang upside down to dry. I grabbed some chamomile and chocolate mint for tea as well. The flowers of the blooming echinaceas were enchanting. The lemon verbena made me want to roll in it. Paradise can be built in a 4x4 herb bed, among other places if you are in the mindset to find it.
We were a happy trio, us farmers. After the herb garden was weeded and watered, I stepped out and headed over to the vegetable patches. Monday followed, still wanting his bottle. He could eat until he exploded. Gibson stuck around the herbivore activity of messing with plants long enough to watch Monday tuck in his legs for a nap amongst the kale, while I went about the work of weeding and pulling out bolted lettuce and rocket. This particular bed was spent. It was just housing bitter greens, and I decided today they would go feed the goats and I would turn and replant the soil with fresh seeds of kale, mesclun mix, and arugula.
The garden bed needs to be fed. Since the soil already brought such beautiful plants into the world I will add some of the black vermicompost from my worm bin and a diluted watering of compost tea. It is powerful stuff, that. A few treatments and the leaves will thrive.
It felt so sweet out there, my bare feet in the cool earth, worms between my toes and a lamb sleeping in the sunlight. My dress would kick up with the occasional wind and just a few yards away Jasper watched with mild interest. Within an hour what was once a festering jungle of elder greens was naked and brown and ready for rebirth. I watered it and felt that new feeling a fresh garden bed grants you, that dirty honest hope. Monday sighed and I gripped my toes deep into the soil, as if holding on with my feet would brand the memory.
I love being on the back of my horse. I love putting on that harness, and driving him down a country road with friends on a sunny day. But there is something to be said for summer afternoons barefoot in paradise. And before I head out to my hammock with a book and a glass of something cold, I leave you with the best advice you will get all day. Follow these four steps to paradise, my dear friends.
1. Lean back in your chair.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Smile and let out a deep sigh.
4. Keep smiling.