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Last night we diced up the last butternut squash from our 2014 garden. As I brought it up from the basement, I remembered furtively picking it in late September. Because everything was so sudden with our move from Illinois, and because we had no idea we’d be moving that summer to begin with, our garden got short shrift. Actually, if we’d known we’d be moving by July we would not have put in a garden to begin with.

But we did, and we hated to leave it behind. The timing was awkward – a little earlier, and we could have brought some of the plants to Michigan and transplanted them. But it was too late for transplanting, and too early for much harvesting.



Because we were still going back to Illinois regularly for Dave’s dentist appointments, we did manage to harvest a few things: some tomatoes, one zucchini, all the garlic and onions, and a few leeks. My purple broccoli was coming along really well but we had to abandon it [sad trombone]. The house was in our name until the end of September, so on our very last trip back we grabbed the aforementioned tomatoes and zucchini, and then I started wandering the butternut squash patch.

Dave was getting antsy to get back on the road and kept urging me to stop. “But look at this one! It’s ripe already,” I said, pointing. I inched forward, crouching, pushing leaves aside. “Oh wait, I have to get this one too.” A couple were not as golden as they should be, but all told I ended up getting six beautiful squash before we headed back to Michigan. Over the past few months, they all ripened perfectly in our cool basement.

We just got our first seed catalog a few days ago, and even though we’re firmly in winter’s grip, we are already looking ahead to spring. One of the many things that attracted us to this house was the acre of land, and a very flexible landlady who was more than happy for us to put in a huge garden. Although there’s a tiny chance something could come up, some house at an amazing price that we just know is meant to be ours, it’s more likely that we will stay here for another year when our lease comes up in July. We decided to take a chance and put in that big garden we’ve been dreaming about.

I really hope we can see this one through. It’s going to be the largest garden I’ve ever had, although Dave is really the gardener in our house so he gets all the credit. I think I’ll be more involved in this garden though; its size might require two people for maintenance. We’re planting things I’ve never grown before – cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, fennel, kale – and things I haven’t grown in years, like carrots, green beans and watermelon. My purple broccoli will get a second chance in 2015, as well as the herbs, butternut squash, a variety of tomatoes and peppers.

Although nobody in our immediate family died in 2014 (thank God), it still felt like there was too much loss, too much taken from us. I’m looking forward to new growth and renewal, filling that empty space.

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