Spring of 2010 was the first time Jay got a hold of the garden. It had weeds 3 ft high, and two pathetic raised beds buried in what we would later call The Back 40. The backyard was a living example of the collateral damage of my divorce – an expanse of pure neglect.
Then Jay found it.
We weed-wacked our way down to the soil and started our slow reclamation of the backyard. That first year we focused on The Back 40. When Jay was diagnosed with cancer we set up the hammock so he could look onto the lush veggies spilling out of the beds. The rest of the garden sat dormant, but The Back 40 showed tremendous promise.
The following Spring, 2011, Jay was still in treatment. He recovered from his colostomy surgery and his chemo came to an abrupt end in March. We built more beds and grew more food. The kids named our garden Muddy Feet Farm. In the Fall we built a chicken coop and started Food Rescue. We were literally tripping over the abundance in our home. This was the life we had both yearned for. We were so happy. Then Jay was re-diagnosed in December with advanced stage 4 cancer.
Spring of 2012 was emotionally bleak, but the garden was beautiful. Jay planted peas and green beans, chard and carrots. The plants grew. There may not be anything in the world more hopeful than a Spring garden. As Jay and I contemplated his death we tended our mini-farm, raised our kids and prayed a lot. Jay was meant to eat those green beans and carrots. We left our inept oncologist and found our way to Napa, where the fates delivered a team of angels. Food Rescue idled at times, but never stopped. The garden expanded in the Fall to include most of the backyard. We passed through the year alive, grateful for every moment. We were married in October.
We spent yesterday afternoon in the garden. We planted more broccoli, chard, kale, nasturtiums, favas, and beets. Today’s rain has brought all our plants to attention. Packets of peas, cilantro, chives and zinnias wait for us on the dining room table; one should never squander a warm rainy day by failing to plant! Jay is waking from his daily post-radiation nap. He has 10 more radiation treatments left, zapping the spot of his second, most recent lung surgery. We feel hopeful, and the garden is full of promise.
That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by!