Tuesday, May 28, 2013

rain ramblings and our outside garden

it's sounding pretty torrential outside. i haven't looked. the curtains are drawn but i can hear the soft thundering of the rain against our fences. 

for as long as i can remember, i have always liked the rain. when i was growing up in the philippines, i used to love  watching sheets of rain guzzle down outside my classroom. my favourite years in elementary school had me in a classroom that had no doors or windows. they were brilliant structures: a hexagon building divided into six classrooms with an opening in the middle and stairs that came down to create a little theatre in the round for assemblies. it was amazingly conducive to learning. we were, in fact, always outside. there was always fresh air. it never seemed to get too cold. and when the rain beat down during lessons, i remember feeling more grounded, focused on learning. and the rain smelled wonderful. (there are no pictures to be found online that properly capture what it was like to go to school there. not the way i would photograph them now. but i really loved it.)

on days like today, i want nothing more than to curl up in bed under a blanket, with a good show and a good knit, children occupied with their own pleasures or piled on top of me, napping. 

we live in vancouver. rain happens. all the time. most days, we embrace the rain: i let the kids jump in puddles. we run our errands. we go about our business. but on really rainy days, it's so nice to be able to just stop and slow down. listen to the rain. and we absolutely get to relish the fact that we don't have to water our plants: that on this day, mother nature is taking care of our gardens for us.

our gardens are wee but so full of heart and rather busy these days. while i have been dreaming up kitchen feasts with the fruits of our very small harvest - the wife and the boy have been hard at work putting the plants in. 

in the little garden we share on the co-op grounds, what i call our outside garden, we are growing tomatoes and basil and green onions. and a very kind neighbour shared some green bean seedlings with us. 

there, the boy also planted his beloved carrots and pumpkins - seed packets he picked out himself and obsessed over until the very day he set them in. here's hoping they take. our carrots didn't do so well last year. and oh, wouldn't it be amazing to grow our very own pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern this year? that would totally rock.

i'm so grateful for this little gardening space. i never had a garden like this. growing up, i was just not interested. i suppose it was because i was never really exposed to the experience. and in my adult life, apartment living never afforded such a luxury (and my potted plants died). so, i never really understood how satisfying and relatively easy it would be to grow your own food. and while i'm also grateful for grocery stores the world over, my little family is becoming addicted to the simplicity and real beauty of being this close to the earth: appreciating our hand in the cycles of life, and literally filling our table with food that tastes all the better because we grew some part of the ingredients ourselves.

i know this garden experience is no real epiphany to many people in the world. but i am so happy be able to share this wonder of mine with my wife and children. it's always a small celebration when we learn something new together, as a family, outside. and gardening is the perfect team building event: the wife supervises all the planting. the boy helps out, does a lot of the digging, and gets into trouble for not doing what he is asked. the girl putters about, talking to plants and doing her own thing. and i photograph the occasion and knit, when permitted. and then it's my job to turn whatever we're able to harvest into a meal.

corn and spinach fritatta with basil from the garden

so i say, rain on. and grow little seeds, grow. we'll be checking the outside garden tomorrow for progress.


  1. I have lived in an apartment most of my life. I just had the pleasure of growing our own edible garden as well since we have moved south and in a house with a back yard. I think its a big deal for me too.
    Veggie high five!

    1. veggie high five indeed! how is your garden growing these days?