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PURSLANE, AMARANTH AND DILL

Gardening is an occupation filled with peace, hope and joy. I have always loved plants. I remember being a teenager and finding escape in an overgrown field where I could fall back into the grasses that were taller than I was and take in a world so full of peace and life it was unrecognizable from anything I was experiencing in the human world. I remember blowing the seeds from dandelions and watching in wonder as they floated to new destinations to set down roots in all the hidden places they could take hold, their hope wrapped in such a tiny bit of fluff. I remember the smell of fresh cut hay and how it still comforts my mind to this day. I remember picking wild flowers and making them into wreaths that I put on mine and my daughter's heads as we danced under the moon in our joy. I remember the wonder of watching the first seed I ever planted burst into life as it came out of the earth and reached for the sun. I remember my boys bringing me countess bouquets of weeds that were more touching than anything a florist could offer me. I remember waiting for blooms beyond count to open up and share their delight with me in their splendor. Gardening is an occupation filled with peace, hope and joy.

I planted amaranth and purslane and I'm watching them reach through the soil. It's an experiment to see if they give us food before the first frost comes along and destroys their efforts but one worth the time if just for the journey of watching them grow.

Before I became a gardener I didn't know what amaranth and purslane were. I had never tasted them. I had no idea of the types and endless colors they offered. I wasn't aware that the grocery store was missing so many incredible eating experiences and that I could have them just by putting a tiny seed into some soil, watering it and watching it grow. Malabar spinach, red Chinese noodle beans, golden beets were all unknown quantities and so special. How did I do without them for so long? Why wasn't I aware that loofahs were a plant or that you could eat a squash that tasted like mashed potatoes? How did I live without sun warmed tomato dripping off my chin while my bare feet sunk into the warm soil? Gardening has made me learn, made me grow, made me slow down and look at everything.

My dill has dropped its' own seeds. It grew all summer in the soil of my large vegetable garden. I placed the plants I started myself randomly in with my other food and watched as the most stunning flowers opened up to the sky and revealed their beauty. I smiled as my hand brushed over them and the scent they released reminded me of pickles and life. I was taken back in time to my Nana's kitchen and could almost hear her laughter in my ears despite her presence having left the earth so long ago. The dill flowers expired after giving and giving through the heat of summer but their babies are peppered everywhere their seeds touched the ground. There are more plants coming up than I can count, certainly more than I started with and I check their progress each day with happiness and hope.

Life always continues in the garden. One of these nights the frost will come and take most of it away as it does every year but that only means these little plants will go back into the soil and nourish it for next year's bounty. For now I will watch my purslane with a keen eye and taste a little leaf here and there. I will take note of the impossibly perfect color of the amaranth leaves and I will bury my face in all the fine tendrils of the baby dill. My heart will soar with the knowledge that gardening will always be an occupation filled with peace, hope and joy. #gardening #homestead #vegetables #dill #amaranth #purlane #growing #naturephotography






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