Friday, 21 December 2012

Digging up lunch

The end of this year is near, so it is time to prepare the garden for the upcoming growing season. Last month was the time of the year to dig up the soil and to remove withered plants. Yes, we were a little late, but luckily the soil wasn't too wet and not yet frozen. 

I prefer to work the ground with a pitchfork instead of a shovel; since the latter makes the work heavier, the ground stays in one hump and there is a bigger change to cut the valuable worms in two. Every scoop of ground I dug up in our garden had at least three earth-worms in it. Even though we love having them mixing and processing our soil throughout the year, it was also fun to see this little robin following me and eating a couple of our worms for lunch. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

On seasonality

After a big break in a hot and sunny country, we returned to cold and wet Holland. Our garden had changed tremendously in these past autumny days. The change of seasons was clearly visible.

South-east Asia knows three seasons, in which two of them merely differ a couple degrees Celsius and some hours to sunset. The sun was great, no complaints, but I think I prefer four seasons like we have in Holland. Even though there are many people that dislike colds and rains, we appreciate and long for the sun and warmth even more when it freezes; and vice versa. Furthermore, the yearly cycle is much more clear. It provides something to hold on: falling leaves announce the time to prepare the garden for cold climate, the food that grows is attached to the nutrients we need that season, spring colours bring us hope for better times, and summer scents bring back (good) memories. If these clear seasonal variations did not occur, we would not give the meanings these different periods bring a moment's thought.
In one way, one could say that the repetition of these seasons is (literally) nothing new under the sun, but this is exactly what's making it comforting in some way, like a stable and balanced line through our lives. I think it is better to conceive this yearly cycle not merely as reiterations, but more as continuity; something that goes on for thousands years and throughout earlier generations. Seasons are a guiding theme through our lives, connecting dots, and stabilizing our lives.

Change of colours, smells, food, ailments, and emotions all pass by every season without much notice if we do not go out and dwell in miss seasonal herself: nature. Having your own garden makes it even easier to follow the obvious and deeper seasonal changes the plants reflect on our own lives. So don't just enjoy the warm periods, make sure you catch every season, to let your body and mind be in tune with our natural guide.

Bright colours turned into brown and grey