Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

A garden is like a cat (or 5) …

Posted by Nika On February - 15 - 2008

Garden Project: KD romping in the garden

Recently, I had a car accident (a rather scary close call) that has put me much more into a metaphysical state of mind versus practicalities.

Gardening generally is very practical and I love it for that. The garden is somewhat like a cat in that it doesn’t scream for attention except for when it really needs it. It doesn’t hurt and it does help to pet it on a daily basis though. I am much more of a cat person. If my garden were more like a dog, needing to be walked (weeded) with a 100% certainty several times a day, the joy of it would fly away.


I LIKE to weed because I choose to do it (as in, it’s a part of the gardening flow) and I approach it with a sense of wonder and investigation.

I knew I liked it too much when I found myself asking for a book of weeds and how to identify them (the store keeper was surprised for the question and then more so when she realized no such book existed in her store). I have not googled much for it so there may very well be many well established books on the identification of weeds in the Northeastern states of the US.

All I do know is that I can identify a weed as it sprouts but I have no names for them.. there are no names except for the expletives that escape on occasion. The ones that came late in the season (wind borne?) that I hate with a serious passion? The painful tricky prickly evil stinging weed that affected every bed. One mission of mine this year is to track those down the moment they rear their evil little seedling heads. They are much harder to see though because they take refuge under more mature plants (they like shade). My secret weapon, for many different reasons, will be red and black polymer mulching and row covers.

Because we humans tend to build templates from past experience to frame our expectations, I find that I experience my garden within the whole motherhood-spectrum.

Early spring is a time for “trying to conceive”. If you have ever had problems conceiving you would know what it feels like – anticipation, excitement, concern, disappointment, sadness, and then cycling through that again and again.

Thankfully, with gardening, the conception can be controlled a bit more, the early development can be troubleshot much better, and the numbers of offspring are much higher so success can mitigate some of the losses.

I am sure you can extend that metaphor yourself.


As an experienced mom, I know that right now, before we get our seedlings growing indoors, I am going through the thought-conception process where I am recognizing and acknowledging the transformative process of gardening (motherhood).

It fits in or is augmented right now by the metaphysical sort of mood brought on by the near death experience. Some might prefer to not linger on such thoughts but it is my way, always have been. It will build important feelings and investment in my garden later, as I watch growth and participate in the transformation.

As a mother, it will always be a bittersweet experience and not a rote exercise. I am glad for that.

Bad Boy Leo - HFF!

Like my garden, things have been sort of dormant around here and I apologize for that. I am hoping to even things out more in years to come so that there is content all year long. Like gardening, this blog is a long term project because things, people, thoughts, take time to grow.

6 Responses to “A garden is like a cat (or 5) …”

  1. Heidi says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your car accident, but so glad you’re here to take such lovely photos of your “children”…all of them. I too had a near-death experience in Oct 2006. I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm and after brain surgery and 20 days in the hospital and several months of recovery, I lived to see another spring last year.

    My first walk into my garden was overwhelming. Dead leaves and growth struggling to get through old mulch looked so beautiful to me. It struck me quite by accident and very unprepared. Thankfully, I was by myself and could simply let the tears flow. But they were tears of joy that God felt I needed to be here another year to witness spring and plant another garden.

    Granted, my 2007 garden wasn’t nearly as extensive as yours, or as extensive as my gardens in the past, but it was wonderful to see the rebirth and now I tended to another living thing.

    I do enjoy your blog. Continued good health to you, your family, pets and living things.

  2. Nika says:

    Heidi: thank you for sharing that very scary story. Next to your close call, mine was a walk in the park. I am so thankful you came through it all well!

    Indeed, gardening is a gift that is so much better when we can appreciate that we are not the master but growing with it, along with it, and really not in charge of much besides nudging some of the growth and death in the direction we think we want.

    Please come back and visit again!

  3. Nika says:

    Erika wrote: Look at the grass in that photo! I’m craving green right now…

    I don’t think you need to apologize for not posting often during the winter. Winter is a time of respite and rest- a time to reflect on the seasons past and think about what you could do better next year. Our average temperature here creeped up to 30 this week, to me that means spring is on it’s way- albeit taking it’s sweet old time to make an entrance. But what an entrance it will be when it does arrive!

    (My spam filter ate her comments!)

  4. Nika says:

    Erika: I understand about that craving. Indeed, spring is always amazing.

    We just planted our 12-10 week out seedlings (onions and broccoli).. have the other plantings mapped out.

  5. Goodness Nita

    I hope all is well with you.

    How interesting your analogy with Springtime and trying to conceive, I have been experiencing those feeling for the last year after my miscarriage.

    Spring I feel offers such hope, optimism and aspiration.

    Sending you sunny thoughts!


  6. Nika says:

    Joanna: I am SO sorry that you too have had to deal with this kind of loss. I understand some of what you are going through.I think I have been pregnant something like 9 times and I have 3 kids.

    Thanks for the sunny thoughts! I send you some too :-)

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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