Old Lady Gardener

. . . I am getting old, the kind where suddenly you are seeing specialists on a regular basis. 

Nevertheless, I am still here learning and trying new things and planning as if I’m never going to die.  That may be foolish but it makes getting up each day exciting.

Gardening throughout much of my life has been like a tableaux off to the side but present in my peripheral vision.  As an adult, I engaged in gardening in fits and starts with various results.

But there are interesting little trails in my life hanging like loose threads.  In high school I took an occupational preference test and came out as a Forest Ranger.  Me and my best buds – we all had a good laugh over that.  Then, in college, one day we sat around speculating what kind of guy each of us would marry and it was decided that I would  marry either a rancher or a college professor.  Not bad for reality – a college professor.

I still chuckle at the Forest Ranger result, but my daughter, at one point, went for vocational counseling and she mentioned the vocational preference test I took and how I laughed at it.  The counselor said, “But – isn’t your mother working for an environmental organization, taking canoe trips in the wetlands?  You know, these tests really don’t lie.”

So here I am at last working my soul out in the soil.  And here’s another symbolic experience that led to the title of the blog:  I was reading Eliot Coleman’s book, Four-Season Harvest.  It’s a book meant for younger eyes.  Even with my glasses on, I’m squinting at the print.  And – swear to God – every time I came to the word soil, I saw soul.  The first couple of times I actually thought I was reading soul.

Finally there were just too many occurrences of soul to believe that someone writing about gardening/farming was writing a spiritual tome.  So I went and got my sewing/painting glasses and saw the truth – the word I had been seeing as soul was indeed soil.  (Not that there isn’t a spiritual aspect to the book.)

I smiled inwardly at my mistake, but it’s really just like the mistake of me being a Forest Ranger.  Another one of those loose threads not to be confused with lint.

One reason why I am writing this blog is to encourage older people to garden, to grow their own food.  The exercise and the good food that results will keep you healthier.  And the food tastes like nothing you get from the supermarket.  With raised bed gardening, you can do it.  Come along for the ride.

Another reason I am writing about this is to encourage organic gardening.  In a world that is deteriorating because of our poor stewardship of the earth, organic gardening can give back some of what we have stripped away.  And if enough of us do it, we might contribute to the healing of our planet home.


Alas, this was written before all the dire news about our future. But we still  cannot give up.  Drastic changes are necessary and hopefully TPTB will wake up and do the work that we individuals can’t do by ourselves.  We must do as much as we can, push our governments to do the work.  Read the work of scientists and activists.  I am not content that my grandchildren (and all our grandchildren collectively) will inherit oceans devoid of life and no hope.

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