Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Here's clue number 432 that we are back in Texas...

During some of my first interactions with family and friends, I heard many of them say something like...

"I'm so sad you had to leave Haiti...you had just planted your garden."

Texas is a peculiar place, is it not?  I guess Texans don't let go of a garden very easily.

Ours has been a relentless pursuit to figure this "grow your own food" thing out, and all we have to show for it so far is a big pile of failure.  Yet we're determined.  We will grow food.  We will.  By golly one day, with a full belly of squash and green beans that we harvested right outside our back door, we will mercilessly kick it to the "man."

If we had to live off of any of our past gardens, the entire Hendrick family would have starved to death a decade ago.  Our gardens have been unable to sustain even one human being. Or a yard gnome. Instead of the buckets of produce I lustfully dream about while we're planting seeds in the ground in the spring, what we actually get is a child running in the house mid-summer with a lone cherry tomato, holding it in the air, as though they found a diamond..or a gameboy game in the back yard.

Oddly, this astonishing record of failure does not cause us to waiver.  Getting the garden ready.  Tilling up the soil.  Working outside in the sun.  Picking out the seeds.  Coming in filthy dirty.  Going to free gardening classes at the feed store on Saturday mornings.  The boys running outside sleepy-headed as soon as they wake up to "check the garden" only to return with a shrug.  I guess the work and disappointment is worth it to us even if our only payment is a handful of pitiful lettuce.

We're gearing up for what must be our 8th annual garden fail.  I signed up for Sprout Robot..  Have you seen this site?  It's an online reminder that tells you what to plant and when to plant it according to your zip code.  Plants and robots.  My boys are in love.  I think this makes us a little bit like the Jetsons.  Surely the Jetsons had a successful garden, since they also had a machine that puts your pants on for you.

When I eagerly announced to the kids this morning that we are starting our spring garden in the next few days,  our most sarcastic and perceptive son stated the obvious. "Uh...where are you planting it?  We don't even have our own house yet or know where we're going to live."  I don't know where he gets his sassy mouth.

So I sassed right back.


So.  What.

Small setback."

Maybe I do know where he gets his mouth.

We have seed packets, and dirt, and cups.  We'll get earth under our fingernails, hold tiny seeds in our hands, and think of all the hope they bring...of the promises and life they contain.  We'll be reminded that while the world is cold and gray, something new is breaking forth in the dark...hidden from our view.  New life is coming!  Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it's not growing.  With expectancy, we'll care for these tiny seed promises during this time of uncertainty. When we transplant them into our new yard, we'll rejoice at the message one tiny seed can teach a family of souls.

And then let's face it.  We'll probably kill all those sweet plants because we can't grow a garden to save our lives.

But. So. What.


5 Chicks and a Farmer said...

that sight is so cool! thanks for sharing.

this is my year too....i say that every year. i stink royally at growing anything.

and it looks as if i should be planting bell pepper tomorrow indoors according to the gardening robot. i'm already feeling behind.

Frogs Mom said...

Why not a container garden?

Hendrick Family said...

I actually have a bunch of big containers here already. If we aren't moved into a more permanent place by the time we need to transplant these and the weather is warmer, I think I'm going to try the container approach.

Our Family said...

I think that it is very sweet that people keep asking about your garden...that means they were really reading your posts! I really appreciate that you are still 'doing' and 'creating' as a family during your waiting time. (I would be very tempted to use my waiting time as tv time! LOL) Keep us posted on the progress please.

Cami Franklin said...

I don't live in Texas and have never attempted a garden (although my grandfather in IL had marvelous ones each year - it may be in my blood but I have never tried) Anyway - I said the same thing to my husband - "Man - they had just started a garden and then had to leave!"

Good luck with it - anxious to see what God does with EVERYTHING!!!!

Adrian Waller said...

We definitely hope to garden in the near future, so I'm checking out that site ASAP!

Adrian Waller said...

We definitely hope to garden in the near future, so I'm checking out that site ASAP!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

That's exactly what my mom said about you leaving Haiti - the garden thing.

I wish we could kill vegetation together.


Melissa said...

I was sad too - that you had to leave your garden. I'm sure you were sad about so much more. I know how much hard work goes into a garden...I guess that it where my mind was. Hope your Texas garden is a huge success!

Robin said...

Thanks for the site. We just moved across the country, and I had no idea where to start in our new zip. This gives me a place to start. We've had as much success as you with our gardens, but we keep trying...

Katie Thompson said...

Thank you so much for the link!

I love reading your posts. Your honest, open heart and the stories of your family's journey fill me with hope! And laughter :-) Good luck with your garden!

Many prayers and blessings, Katie.

Tammy said...

My husband and I are from NC and we thought the same thing -- what about their new garden?! I didn't say anything then because: 1. I wondered if it might be insensitive given the situation and 2. I'm a blog lurker -- often too shy to comment publicly.

And we're in the same boat -- gardening failures. Oddly enough, I have an abundant amount of success with houseplants (our house feels like a jungle sometimes) but we've had minimal success so far with a veggie garden.

Speaking of being in NC, though -- I don't know of any jobs for Aaron, but we think Greensboro, NC would be a great place for y'all to live!!

mandi said...

oooh! How fun! A new garden gadget! I use my past garden journal and the Mother Earth News website for help in that area as well. But I like this email update thingy. I'm checking it out now!

Debi Stoll said...


Anonymous said...

I've never commented before. I always kill my gardens too. I blame living in Canada. I'll try again. Maybe. But I did watch a film at backtoedenfilm.com and it will change how you see gardening. Totally worth the time!

Anonymous said...

On the off chance that this might help (because I'm just an amateur)

Sometimes my most successful plants are the ones that spent their entire life growing outside (started from seed in the garden). The leaves on any squash (zucchini, pumpkins, etc.) will totally make you feel like your garden was successful (and they produce tons of vegetables). Green beans grow easily from seed too.

I've found that when I start things from seeds inside my house, they have a hard time transitioning outside (full sun is actually too much for them). One approach we've used is to make a tent over them (4 posts, and a burlap square to shade them for the first couple of days/week (or until their leaves perk back up again) and tons of water while they recover from the shock of transplantation/full sun.

That being said, I'm in New England so I'm not really sure that this translates perfectly to Texas, but you could try :)

Love your blog, and your writing.

Happy growing!