Monday, July 2, 2012

four steps to paradise

Today after the horses were back in their keeps and the sun rose up high, I came home and swapped out my jeans and boots for a favorite old sun dress. I kicked off my shoes, fixed my straw hat over my eyes, and went out into the garden barefoot with my border collie at my heels. Not far away from him was Monday, bleating for more milk.

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.


Blogger Debi said...

I've discoverd that all the expensive therapy in the world can't compare to an hour or so barefoot in the garden. Glad you had such a beautiful day. :)

July 2, 2012 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Good advice indeed. How's are the dogs feeling about having you home full-time. I bet they're in doggy heaven :)

July 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Such a lovely post. I was there with you.

July 2, 2012 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

That sounds lovely. Question, since you love your lemon verbena. Do you have any lemon balm? Would you like any? It smells like heaven and spreads, but not as fast as mint. It's good for teas and just for rubbing your hands on as you pass in the garden. If you want any, I'll bring seeds to Antlerstock.

July 2, 2012 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Love the smell from my lemon basil each time I jangle the leafs. Cleared my corn bed yesterday and the summer squash that was cooking and turning to gourds on the vine. Tilled up the bed and added fresh compost…so exciting to start fresh again.

Here’s to paradise.

July 3, 2012 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

Sitting on the back porch of my moms farm in north east PA, is the best thing I have ever found for true relaxation. We head up here every summer from the fla keys. It is a much needed escape until we get our own farm. Soon... Looking at land outside of Saratoga in a few weeks. I can't wait!

July 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

Pure magic ~ a sundress, bare toes & an herb garden. Ahhhhhh.........

July 3, 2012 at 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Alicia said...

Paradise is in the heart of the beholder. It is different for each individual. Great post!

July 3, 2012 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

I'd LOVE to go for a cart ride behind Merlin!!!

July 3, 2012 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Debi's comment here! So glad you've discovered the herb garden. And that quiet, cool, clean (even with dirty feet) moment at the end of the day, in the garden, the shade, amidst the scents of the herbs.

July 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM  

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