I stood for several seconds considering a mercy killing, but in a moment of optimism decided to let the patch of severely sick eggplant continue to photosynthesize. Just in case they didn’t pull through, I planted a few squash seeds so the space wouldn’t be wasted. The squash bugs have proven to be a formidable enemy, so along with frequent soap insecticide bombings and daily hand-to-bug combat, I have attempted to overwhelm the enemy by planting zucchini in every conceivable nook and cranny. This way we should have at least enough survivors to keep the farm hands supplied with chocolate zucchini cake and green Thai curry; very important to the overall morale, and ultimately our survival in this dog eat dog bug-eat -plant world.
Last month’s moment of clemency gifted us with unexpected eggplant. We sprayed them with homemade insecticide to discourage the greedy grasshoppers and a couple doses of LAB (homemade lactic acid bacteria) and I suppose the perfectly timed rain and the dozens of wheelbarrows of compost we hauled this spring all had a chance to kick in. They look great now! I’m so glad I resisted the urge to yank them out and start over. A sweet moment of natural farming success.
As I settle into the sheets, soaking in the exhausting, blissful feeling of farming success, I am shocked to see half of the decorative palm tree (Scott loves palms so it was a gift for him) at the foot of my bed has turned yellow and died. This obviously didn’t happen overnight. How did I manage to miss this? I look at this poor plant every morning and night- we practically sleep together! Yet I didn’t see the signs as it slowly died from drought due to negligence. I fight off shame and guilt as I quickly water and prune off the dead branches.
What a vivid lesson in paying attention to the ones we live with. It’s so easy to get caught up in “tending the farm” that we miss what is right in front of us; the ones we live with and love the most, yet fail to SEE in the flurry of living. Crawling back into bed, I ask God to help me be more attentive and true to my priorities. This farm and all its labor will someday be irrelevant; my relationship with God and His children are what really matter. I desire to keep my soul well-watered with the invited presence of God, and I want my family to feel loved and valued above all else. I’m continually learning how to be a wise steward and balance this abundant life He has blessed me with.