The Farmer in the Yard

IMG_4328While my grandpa drove his green John Deere tractor through the soybean fields, my grandma tended her tomatoes. The best view of the large garden was right outside her bedroom window so I bet that was the first thing she looked at each summer morning. She even had a scarecrow like in the Wizard of Oz.

I couldn’t wait to grow my own tomatoes.

The first chance came when we found out we could rent a garden plot in town, we didn’t have room for one at our place yet. By the next summer we did.

Ever impatient with details, I didn’t bother to read up on the how or why, I just dug a hole and in they went. But the tomatoes came. One summer we counted 663! Tom’s Czech Babi taught me how to can and make the best chili sauce. We enjoyed those tomatoes in some form or another all year-long.

I kept planting but got busy too. Lots more to do in my day-to-day besides tend tomatoes. One year I got them in the ground in July and picked them in November. They went into a brown bag to ripen. Not exactly Plan A.


The yield slowed down, a lot. Maybe the soil got tired. The varmints started encroaching and I lost many a red bulb to a one bite taste. I think I lost some interest too.

Then the tomato thieves came.

My neighbor called one morning: “Someone just left your garden with a bulging bag.” Sure enough, all the ripe ones were gone. I never caught the marauders but I also never got any tomatoes that summer.

After that, I hung up my hoe and called it a day. Farmer no more.

A couple of years ago, I told our lawn guys to just start mowing down the garden. And they did. It seemed appropriate I assured myself, I was on to other things, right?

But something felt shut down.

I didn’t identify it until I read a book on the beach, Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy. A most beautiful book indeed but her memoirs of her garden brought tears down my cheeks.  I yearned to plant tomatoes again, not just buy them at the farmer’s market but grown in my yard. And not just picking the fruit but the whole experience.

Roots and Sky

The answer to my longing came quickly. Within a week my next door neighbor built a large garden box for their yard and hoisted one over the fence for us too.  It seemed completely random as I had not shared those garden longings with anyone. I knew, of course, there was nothing random about it at all.

Leap and the net will appear or something like that. More likely God heard my heart.

I took my youngest granddaughter to the plant market and carefully chose 5 tomato plants, a red pepper and a few herbs.  We came home and put them in right away. Every day I go outside and check. Nothing yet but they’re on the way.


My garden assistant

Next time some part of me feels shut down, I hope to pay attention a little sooner.

I wish the same for you. How does your garden grow?

Hope for the best,




2 Responses to “The Farmer in the Yard”

  1. 1 Debra Dimon Davis June 8, 2016 at 6:22 AM

    This week I set up the serger for the first time in over a year as I finally have a place in the new house to sew. Making a baby dress and an apron for an old friend was such a pleasure! (Don’t know if you saw my ” Back in the Saddle” post… very similar to your garden post) It is always a pleasure to see ourselves in a new light… from the same sun.

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