These three, helping me.
Bringing the garlic in again.
Another nine-month season of growing,
coming full circle.
Oh, I have so many thoughts about growing garlic. But this year, garlic speaks to me of forgiveness.
Taking a single clove from last year’s
soil and pushing it into the ground
just before winter
and hoping it will grow it into a new, full head –
come what may.
Through autumn leaves falling,
and snow storms,
and spring cold,
it grows silently
or maybe sits and waits
offering at last
in deep summer,
the smell of forgiveness.
This is what the “lawn” looks like after six weeks away.
And the garden is a jungle. But at least there is kale growing in the jungle. And lots of garlic. Oh, and volunteer plants I would have weeded out weeks ago. How I love the volunteers. And so they get to stay. Nasturtiums in the garlic beds. Cosmos in the onions. Calendula everywhere. Hundreds of borage plants for the bees.
The garden is wild. The children have not brushed their hair in days. The puppy is happy.
The chickens are settling back in.
And sometimes Amabel and I spend the morning collecting beautiful bits of plants and arranging them just so, creating this lovely, yet rather pointless assortment . . . instead of weeding, but . . . it’s lovely here, in the jungle, isn’t it?
214 cloves in the ground. And just in time; it’s supposed to snow 6 inches the day-after-tomorrow!
I couldn’t have done it without the help of my beautiful girls. I believe they are coming to love the rhythm of growing garlic nearly as much as I do. These magical cloves will meditate underground all winter and greet us early in the spring. In nine months time, we will pull them out of the earth and give thanks for their gift of abundance once again.
I have a lot to learn from garlic this year: stillness, quiet, solitude, patience.
A meditative morning
cleaning out a garden bed,
getting ready for garlic.
Pulling out the old growth
to make room.
Letting in the light,
just before the rain.
There is so much color here —
so much joy in the seeding and growing,
planting and transplanting.
Watching, waiting, watering.
But there is sorrow, too.
Sorrow in letting it all go,
pulling it out —
even as I know that I must let it go
to make space for what is to come.
Sunday was our much-anticipated family garlic harvest. (Believe it or not we were wearing sweatshirts and hats on Sunday night . . . Hard to believe in the heat we’re having now!) These little people help the harvest go so smoothly! We were able to pull, clean, and spread out over 200 heads in less than an hour. (And I didn’t do much more than take photos!) I write about garlic every year. The magic of growing this glorious plant just grows and grows, especially as I watch our children come to love this tradition as much as Jeffrey and I do. These beauties are the great-great grandchilren of the Meadowlark garlic Jeffrey and I planted the fall after we were married, 13 years ago.
Our little garden helper would be content to stay outside all day long. Whenever we come back in, he moans “Side! Side!” and points at the door.
When Jeffrey was about Wallace’s age, he said the same thing so often that his nickname became “Side”!
It is one of those days when the sky never clears and the mist hangs low and everything is wet. The last day of February. It smells like spring but we are not fooled because six inches of snow are predicted to fall tomorrow.
And so, we go outside and play in the puddles.
225 cloves in the ground. Winter can come now.
Just kidding. We’re still basking in this glorious autumn weather!