GROWING FOR VICTORY

Then two years ago, because of this alien threat to the very seeds of life of our home, I turned radical, declaring: ‘Let’s go for broke! Let’s put it all on the table!” I aimed to get as much food for our dinner table as we could possibly grow ourselves. We were, indeed, very fortunate to have a decent size yard in a warm climate and to be a family of five adults (vegetarians) in fairly good health to do the physical work. Our one-fifth acre lot would now become our ALAMO.

With lines drawn in the dirt, we would proceed to fanatically plant, trying to use every available space–high and low–to the four corners of our small world. And, after the first year in 2001 of gardening for real, were we ever shocked when the final tally showed the harvest coming in at over 2,300 pounds.

Was this a fluke? Had we just gotten lucky and hit a once-in-a-blue-moon jackpot harvest? Yet, I knew we could do more; for we had only scratched the surface of our anemic, worm challenged soil. And, as I began to look around, something incredible was happening. My small place was growing larger right before my eyes, as they searched more intensely for secret, desolate spaces in which to tuck novel plants.

Today, we are continuing to be blessed with good results. Of course, it’s a jungle out there; so we also continue to face daily difficulties which keep us always on our toes. And, the weather extremes should always keep us on our knees. (Interesting, isn’t it, that the predominant position of gardeners will forever be kneeling, whereas that of modern farmers is sitting?)

This will be the third year of our real reality ‘show’–trying to be true survivors and to overcome all sorts of cultural fear factors. Our amazing race is towards the unheralded finish line of self-sufficiency. To us, singing and dancing for fame belong to a world of idle make-believe. What we face every day is the age-old warrior challenge of conquering ourselves in the hope of being one with the creation. In so doing, the practice of dog-eat-dog will get scrubbed.

There is no harder feat which we have had to tackle than that of planning. At first it was a matter of looking ahead to the next day. Soon we were having to figure out what to do for the next season. That was a serious brain strainer but nothing compared to having to think through a plan for the next year. Now that hurts. Too bad there is no kind of Gatorade for a sweaty brain. One day I hope to see clearly a year down the road. Next, I’ll go for two, and then for three, …

Right now, as a far-sighted planner, I’m not yet able to cut the mustard. But I know what I’ve got to do and that is to keep plodding along, putting one feat in front of the other. For, if I plan to stay on this path, I must plan to stay on the path.

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