Family Visiting

On the trip to Anchorage, we flew through Burbank (this requires a little geography manipulating but the rewards are great), and encountered three West Coast springs. In Anchorage, six feet of rotten snow covered the garden. Here in Washington daffodils and cherries bloom, and tulips begin. But in Southern California the garden center parking lot held many cars and customers’ little wagons many plants.

It’s been a joy to watch our California son and his sweet friend become gardeners while making a garden from an empty back yard. Permaculture beds built last year contain rich soil now, and the early plantings of lavender, dianthus, and alyssum flourish. This winter the garden gained unimaginable things (to me) – lemon, orange, and pomegranate trees, even an olive tree!

Saturday morning, the first day of three-day visit, we made a list: build a sturdy trellis for tomatoes, spread compost, weed the winter’s invaders, plant two trees in containers, shop for plants, plant the plants, paint the garage door (and the trellis).

April mornings in Southern California mean sunshine and a perfect temperature for eating breakfast under the sun umbrella. Middays heat up – and by the time we wandered the garden center, we were hot, and hotter yet at the lumberyard. We persevered – getting wood and recommendations for tomatoes and beans – buying a watermelon plant(!), hot peppers, and some drought tolerant flowers like cosmos and nepeta. We worked with a lot of jokes and also pride in our achievements.

Then we went north to join the staff at Downtown Abbey in food gathering and preparation, laundry, and dog walks. We made a list the first day there also – meals to freeze and meals we’d eat – stock, soup, and beans.

One day we “tag teamed” pizza prep – dough from the local pub, caramelized onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, peppers, tomato sauce, roasted cauliflower, steamed broccoli, pepperoni, and grated cheese, and invited our young friend and her parents to dinner so we could talk about London.

London is good for so many stories – we’ll be telling them to each other for a long time, perhaps till we visit our young friend when she is there on her own to study!

And maybe her parents will visit and grocery shop for her – or help in her tiny London garden – who knows? And who knew all this work could be such a joy – it’s flavored with love, that’s why.

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