Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carrying On...

From a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Charles Willson Peale, August 20, 1811 -

...I am still devoted to the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.

Your application to whatever you are engaged in I know to be incessant. But Sundays and rainy days are always days of writing for the farmer.

Think of me sometimes when you have your pen in hand, and give me information of your health and occupations; and be always assured of my great esteem and respect.

Check out http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/P/tj3/writings/brf/jefl211.htm  if you'd like to read the entire letter or other letters by President Jefferson. 

Years ago I heard his garden quote ("though an old man, I am but a young gardener") and it floated into my brain sometime yesterday so I googled what I could remember of it and Jefferson's entire letter collection popped up.  This particular letter is almost 200 years old, yet it could have been written by any of us and the ideas and thoughts could be our own. Reading this letter was like stumbling across a new blog, now I'd like to read another and perhaps 'follow' him. What else did he have to say about gardening?

I don't remember a time in my life when someone was not concerned about their garden -  vegetable plot, flowerbed, corn, cotton or soybean crop, window box, or hanging basket.  As a child I thought all the vegetable gardens were Dad's and all the flower gardens were Mom's.  I'm pretty sure Mom worked in both gardens, I just don't remember Dad working in the flower beds.

My dad left us with one of his best gardens ever -  the harvest so far includes tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and blueberries.  This week my mom is canning salsa, she's already put up lots of stewed tomatoes.  Her freezer is full of blueberries and now she's giving away blueberries to everyone who stops in for a visit. 

My dad turned 79 this past March.  He enjoyed gardening, not just for the end product, I think he enjoyed trying to 'trick' nature.  He planted way too early every year, there was always a killing frost after his first (sometimes second and third) planting.  Still he planted.  The last few years he had been creating a blueberry patch.  A few plants added every year, spaced just right so you have plenty of room to pick the berries and not hurt the plants.  On a slight hill, so you can stand in front and pick from the lower branches then go behind the plant and easily pick the berries on the top of the plant.  Also, his berry garden can be seen from the kitchen window, so he could see the deer when they came by for a quick meal (sometimes he would stand and watch - they are beautiful - sometimes he would step outside and make noise to scare them away). 

My love of gardening is just one of the many things I learned from my parents.  Everywhere they called home Dad planted a vegetable garden, Mom planted flowers,  and the world was made a little prettier thanks to my parents. 

I want to leave the world a better place - prettier and more comfortable - and I plan to do it all with a bit of humor.  I've returned to my Texas home with a sense of urgency to weed my garden and give away the treasures and/or junk that I no longer use.  I'm finishing that baby quilt and getting my guest room in order.  I want to visit with people and share ideas.  I'm going to do some traveling.  I'm going to spend more time with my mom and my family.   I don't want to waste a minute of this life God has given me. 

What are your plans for the future?  Today, next week, next year....

Evening Primrose, Mom's flower garden, July 2011

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