Surprise, surprise, carrots did very well in our garden this year. When I planted them back in May I didn’t have high hopes. In previous years – if I even bothered to plant them – they never flourished. Some years the seeds washed away in torrential late May rainstorms.
Other years I didn’t have an explanation for why they failed to come up. I thought that I might have planted the seeds too deep so I began planting them in the shallowest rows possible, pressing them gently into the earth and then adding just a sprinkle of soil on top and pressing again.
This year there was a good breeze on the day I planted so I was afraid the seeds would blow away. Another gardener at the Brewster Community Garden stopped by and we discussed this possibility. Her best advice was to let them grow wherever they came up. Carrot sprouts have lacy foliage that is easy to recognize – if they come up.
Part of the problem is that carrot seeds are ridiculously small. They are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. My face was literally almost resting in the dirt as I placed those seeds one by one in the row I made.
The day I planted them is quite vivid in my mind. Our granddaughter Lilia Grace was in the Neonatal Unit at Tufts Medical Center. We didn’t know if she would live or what possible disabilities she would have from the stroke she suffered at birth.
With every single seedling and seed I placed in the ground, I prayed for health and strength for Lilia and for a dear friend who was having health issues. I would alternate the simple breath prayers between those two people I loved. It was remarkably soothing and took away my frustration. At least I was doing something.
The garden continued to be a place of solace and prayer for me. I spend long hours there this summer: weeding, thinning the carrots and beets, deadheading marigolds and picking beans. The strength of the carrots all lined up in a perfect row amazed me even when they were just sprouts. They grew long and skinny in three different colors: orange, yellow and red. We’ve been eating the small ones I harvest as I thin the plants, but we are finally into true carrot season.
Now they are long and fat or short and fat, but they are wonderful in every way. Fresh picked carrots have a very powerful carrot scent and flavor. With that in mind, I decided to make a curried carrot soup to go with the turkey thighs the Kitchen Genius was smoking in the back yard. Since once again we had tons of leftover bread and a bag of apples, sausage and apple stuffing seemed like a perfect accompaniment to his turkey.
Gardening, cooking, and even washing dishes always center me. Our dinner Sunday night offered plenty of all three. We began with a cup of curried carrot soup and baked stuffed clams KG made from his Saturday clamming haul. The smoked turkey was amazing.
Turkey and stuffing are the foods of gratitude and we are full of gratitude these days. At Lilia’s most recent visit to Tufts, the head ultra-sound revealed that the pool of blood covering her brain is gone. It disappeared months before the doctor’s anticipated, so they have moved up her next big testing day that includes an MRI to the day before Thanksgiving.
We are expecting to be very thankful indeed the next day, because all signs are good. She is such a happy baby, but she is also such a champ at her physical therapy at Spaulding in Sandwich. They have pushed her with fabulous results. She now holds her head up high and is working hard and succeeding at sitting up at five months old. She is advanced in many areas, but especially her social skills.
Apparently both babies and gardens respond well to prayer.