We Are All Pieces of an Intricate and Beautiful Puzzle

| 9/3/2013 10:11:00 AM

Melissa V. WillisI have vivid memories of playing in nature as a little girl. I still hold visions of my three-year-old self watering my mom’s plants on the front porch of our tiny little adobe house on Polaco Street … the warm sun on my little body … my long hair pulled back in a ponytail … the buzzing of the honey bees around my ears … the crisp blue sky high above my head … the sweet texture of the soil in-between my toes … the smile on my mom’s face.

I remember running through the fields of wildflowers by my grandmother’s house in Truchas, collecting peacock feathers from the property next door and climbing every tree I could get a foot hold on. I investigated arroyos, teased the horny toads and actually took time to stop and smell the flowers that, along with countless cacti, sprinkled the expansive land around our temporary home in Lamy. I was hopelessly in love with the quiet nature I found all around me.

Chamomile flower
Growing chamomile to make our own teas in the winter has been such a wonderful experience! There really is nothing like homegrown tea!

As I got older and we changed homes a couple more times, I found myself spending every waking moment I could outside. It didn’t matter if I was simply playing in the rocky dirt or lying on a soft patch of grass, I simply longed for the expansiveness of the world outside the four walls we called home. I enjoyed watching my mom plant cosmos and tomatoes, carrots and sunflowers, but rarely helped out. Despite my early love of nature and all the beauty I could access around me, I didn’t find my passion for cultivating any small patch of earth until I was in my early thirties.

Garlic powder
Trying our hands at DIYing everything we can has been quite the adventure! Grinding our own garlic powder has been one of my favorite experiences over the past couple of years! 

My mom had the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen, and while I wish I had had the foresight to glean some of her gardening wisdom from her before she passed, I simply wasn’t interested until a few years ago. It seems, though, that once my interest was sparked, it took off like a wildfire. One tomato plant became six, which quickly became 16. This year, our garden includes several different varieties; canning, cutting and (of course) cherry tomatoes are among our most favorite. In addition to the tomatoes, we are also growing a multitude of other vegetables, herbs and seeds, including, but not limited to, spinach and kale, cucumbers and butternut squash, bush beans and potatoes, basil and mint, broccoli and cayenne peppers, sunflowers and zucchini. Our garden has become a continued effort to grow as much of our own food on the 1/8 acre we purchased in 2007  as is possible. Our garden also works in a beautiful collaboration with our flock of laying hens. Everything is connected, and through that connection, we are learning how to grow, harvest and preserve as much as we possibly can despite the limited time and space we have. 

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