Many have spent the last weeks searching for perfect holiday gifts to give while wistfully thinking about what they themselves would like to receive.
It's different for me. This time of the year is exciting not because of Christmas trees and presents but because it's when seed catalogs come in the mail! I love to pore over every page of vegetables, fruits, trees, and flowers, reading the details of each variety with all my attention. I flip back and forth to the key that reminds me which symbols signify "exceptionally cold tolerant" and "heirloom" and which abbreviations denote resistance to powdery mildew. I consider which varieties would be best suited for our climate, soil, members, and ourselves. I analyze each description to decide which peas will taste better - - the ones that are "sweet and delicious" or those that are described as having "fine, sweet flavor"? I ponder over the copy writer's choice of words. What does "fine" mean anyway? "Fine" as in they will do but aren't quite as good as the delicious ones or are they just as tasty as the others and "fine, sweet flavor" is just another way of saying that? Does your head hurt? Mine does a little . . .
Of course, the ones with glossy photos are my favorite, but I spend equal time with the more simple black and white ones. Some of those are decorated with endearing hand drawings or interesting side-notes. I certainly wouldn't want to miss just the perfect variety of seed because I was distracted by shiny colors.
It's dawning on me that I might be addicted to seed catalog porn - lol!
I take the them to bed to flip through while Bill snores beside me. I dream of all the possibilities the seeds represent to me about the coming summer. I imagine fields of beautiful big heads of green broccoli, beds and beds of golden onion shoulders peeking out of the earth, and bushels of perfectly formed red tomatoes ripening on the vine. I'm thrilled with the prospect of making it actually happen.
This is all somewhat ironic because even though I grew up on a farm, I was much more interested in the animals that lived there than the vegetable and flower gardens. I spent hours watching cows wander the pasture, playing in the haymow with kittens, and working with my stubborn but gorgeous holstein calf, Lindy Sue, so she would lead with a halter.
In fact, I hated to eat vegetables except for kohlrabi, peas, and corn (all presented plain in their very own pile on my plate - never mixed together or with anything else. Did I mention I've apologized many times for the hell I put my mother through regarding food?) I only helped weed the garden, pick peas, or snap beans when I had to and escaped as soon as possible to climb an apple tree or catch tadpoles in the creek.
I was also ridiculously freaked out by worms. And while I still won't touch a worm on purpose, my adult brain has reasoned away my fear so that I don't scream anymore when one is close. Knowing and understanding the many benefits of earthworm-filled soil, I was even happy when we found many yesterday while harvesting carrots. I'm also relieved to report I grew out of my vegetable aversion. I actually love them so much that besides growing them, I even eat them on purpose whenever I can. (Mom can't believe she's lived to see this day! She's still surprised when I include onion on my burger.)
I think my metamorphosis began when I had children. I realized how responsible I was for their health, and how much bad processed food I was bringing home from the store. I learned that food is medicine that nourishes our bodies and minds. I also became aware that food choices make powerful statements to ourselves and others about who we are as people. Eventually it became obvious to Bill and me that we wanted to be part of making that power available to others. And what better way to contribute to food choice for many than to grow it? So that was when we greatly expanded our garden.
Now, here I am years later snuggled up by the Christmas tree, filling out my 2018 seed order.
Happy Holidays to you however you spend it.