Enduring below freezing and sub-zero weather is a challenge. Green plants in the window are a delightful remedy if not evidence of common grace.
Two authors provided me with food for thought during the last week or so. “Courting the Gargoyle”1 by Sheryl Monks explores the dichotomy many writers experience.
“I’ve taken to describing myself as part cheerleader, part gargoyle. The cheerleader, . . . is a powerful avatar, . . . . hopeful, peace-broker . . . . She sees the world democratically; it’s flawed, . . . but it’s not without beauty. . . . the gargoyle is fragile. The gargoyle sets the bar too high, and as a result, the world and the people in it disappoint.”
While you digest that idea, Ann E. Michael confesses that she is too busy to write. Unlike many writers who become jaded and obsessed with lack of discipline and failure, she is hopeful.
“I have not been weeding, as I have not been writing. Other priorities are claiming the be-here-now of my life; but I’m happy to find that the garden, and my writing life, can be sustained through other things and returned to at better times.”2
I confess, I have not weeded the garden either. Yet, providentially, the tomatoes, beans and chard have grown in abundance. I am part gargoyle. The part that never sees the light of social media. I have not written consistently (or as consistently as I planned. . . the gargoyle again.) Midimike commented that there will be time “to write about all those days when you were too busy to write!”3 I am part cheerleader. The brief smile that flickers across the light of social media.
 “Courting the Gargoyle” by Sheryl Monks, August 10, 2015. http://changesevenmag.com/portfolio/courting-the-gargoyle/
 “Too busy to write (sigh)” by Ann E. Michael, August 13, 2015. https://annemichael.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/too-busy-to-write-sigh/
It’s hard to tell from this image, but there is more than a four foot difference between the top of the garden and the lower portion. It’s still a garden in development using found materials. Most the garden is hand tilled and bordered with limbs and branches and creek stone.
To be honest, I ran out of supplies for gardening. So the tree limbs and branches are salvaged from winter and spring storms. Each garden section (or box) is hand tilled and mixed with compost.
Some evenings, as the sun sets, I water the garden. A two-gallon water can is used and one can of water per garden box seems to be sufficient. The other night while I watered the garden in the evening, the fireflies appeared to come up from the ground and surround me; almost as if the water droplets transformed upon impact and rose into the gathering darkness as luminous creatures. Within an hour or two I could see their light in the tallest oaks and pines surrounding the cottage. But, alas, like Robert Frost offers “they can’t sustain the part” of the stars above.
Like twilight time, the garden is transitioning. The snap peas began to wither a few days ago. I can’t tell if it is due to the lack of rain or the peas have passed their season of growth. I’ll plant kale and shard to replace the pea plants. So far the most produce comes from the chili pepper plant and the lettuce. The zucchini and squash are disappointing. It appears the leaves have some kind of mold; yielding only four vegetables. It’s too early to tell, but it looks like the tomato plants will yield well this year.
The garden project revealed something very obvious the other weekend; I really underestimated is the slope of the land. Two more boxes were built on the east side of the garden; otherwise known as the top of the garden. Each box is level, but east boxes are almost six inches higher than the west boxes. At this point, the only thing that’s in the ground are cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce and some assorted plants that lost their labels (I’ll know what I planted later this year from the fruit they yield).
Initially, the idea in my head was terrace gardening, but a challenge presented itself. Mainly this, more lumber is required for proper terracing of a slope. I suppose I could use stone for terracing a slope, but the transportation costs of delivering stones exceeds my budget. So, with limited resources, I maintain the raised bed/container gardens strategy, but have to build the boxes into the slope in such a way that each box varies in elevation from two inches to six inches. From the southeast corner to the northwest corner is a difference of almost a foot. And remember, the goal is six garden boxes.