Posts Tagged ‘California garden’

A day in the garden, pancake breakfast, and a book swap

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

For the past few weeks, Tim has been traveling, but by Friday he was back, and I was relieved to return to our usual routine. After Olivia’s ballet class on Saturday, we checked on the garden. The California weather has been warm enough that we still have tomatoes, some strawberries, the ever-growing hot peppers, and our favorite old-standby, Meyer lemons. While Olivia and Mateo played “fort” and “chase” and “Miwok Indians” under the weeping willow, Tim and I weeded the beds and picked the fruit, filling our baskets and buckets to overflowing. That afternoon we made jam, which the kids ate by the spoonful; and a huge vat of tomato sauce, which, I have to say, is among the best I’ve ever eaten. California’s climate is forgiving. Even when Tim is away and I ignore the garden for a few days, our hardy plants manage to thrive.

On Sunday, after church, our parish hosted a pancake breakfast. Olivia asked me to take a picture of the design she made on hers, and to post it on my blog. Afterwards, we went to the church’s annual book swap. Unbelievable! Within five minutes, I’d scooped up What is the What (Dave Eggers), White Teeth (Zadie Smith), The History of Love (Nicole Krauss), Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCann), American Wife (Curtis Sittenfeld), Shopgirl (Steve Martin), and The Autobiography of Johnny Cash. And this was just the first table! The kids each walked out with bags so heavy they dragged on the floor. People in our neighborhood read some fantastic books, and are generous by recycling them.  I’m still pinching myself.

Mateo just got home from a Lego birthday party, while Olivia and Tim are squeezing the last Meyer lemons for lemonade and sprinkling salt over homegrown tomatoes. Homework is done. Laundry is folded. We’re ready to face the new week.

I once read a poem that began, “Be happy if there’s something to be happy about.”

Right now, I am.


How a California garden is like adoption

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In September, all the work we’ve put into the garden during the past year finally pays off. Tomatoes, strawberries, Meyer lemons, basil. In sauces and gazpacho, smoothies and pies. Sliced onto cereal, on ice cream, broiled with parmesan cheese. Meyer lemons, Meyer lemonade. And Pesto! Pesto by the quart. On pasta and bread. Pesto for lunch and for dinner. Buckets of pesto. 

Summer comes to Northern California not in July or August, but in September. The days are warm enough, at last, to turn our tomatoes red, our lemons yellow. Before breakfast, Tim goes out with a basket, and by the time I wake up the kids, a bowl on the table is filled. 

Because I am who I am and my husband is married to me, we see parallels between our garden and adoption. Tim noticed it first. In Texas, where he once lived, there are four seasons. Everyone, he says, plants tomatoes the same week; gardeners can predict their harvest to the day. But here in California, we plant in February, March, April, or May. Our tomatoes come in, variably: maybe in August, or else in September. Some years, we eat tomatoes off the vine at Thanksgiving. 

How is a California garden like adoption? As Tim pointed out, a normal pregnancy takes nine months. With a pretty good degree of accuracy, expectant parents know when their baby will arrive. There is no such calendar with adoption. Maybe it will take six months, unless it takes two years. For the families still waiting for their children in Guatemala–whose cases have been stalled since adoptions closed in January 2008–it must feel as if it will take forever. 

Guatemala 900, we’re thinking of you as another season passes.