Thursday, June 28, 2012

What inspires you?

I wish I was a really profound writer because then I could describe the cycles of life eloquently and poetically. I will do the best that I can to describe what inspires me as an artist today.
November 2009
Garlic is my favorite plant to grow in the garden. It is planted in the fall - around Halloween. A witch's hat and a full moon is recommended. Everything in the garden is gone. My little plot that once had red tomatoes, hearty squashes, crisp cucumbers is dead. In this photo of my husband's granddaughter and me, I can see the sage and little lettuces heads still holding on to life until the first frost. It is a sad time to see the garden once so full of life now so near death. BUT ... along comes garlic. I plant about 24-36 little cloves about 6-8" into the ground. If the winter predicts to be very cold, sometimes I will cover with them with hay - but then I have to deal with the hay seeds next spring and that can be messy.
Scapes ready to chopped for an omelette
Over the winter, I can see the little tufts of green garlic heads popping through the snow and cold through my kitchen window. It is like the garlic is  saying "we're alive over here."
Then, in the early spring, when the tomatoes, squash, cabbages and cucumbers are just little seedlings in the green house, the garlic gives her first gift - scapes. Scapes are the  flower heads of garlic and they are shaped like little piggy tails.  I love cooking them up in eggs, grinding them into a pesto for pasta and making soup with them. Yum!

fresh dug garlic

At the end of June, just when all the other veggies are tucked into their beds and growing green and strong, the garlic withers and browns signaling that her time is over. The garlic is picked by gently loosening the soil around the bulb and pulled straight up. The dirt needs to be brushed off  without using water and then the garlic in hung in the basement to cure. Yesterday, I picked my garlic and thanked it for providing hope all winter when everything seemed so bleak. 

Planting garlic is an inspiration to me. Just when all the other vegetables are dead and gone, garlic comes onto the scene with hope that spring will arrive again. In the summer, when the other veggies are dancing in the sun, the garlic is drying in the cool basement waiting to give her flavor to those veggies. Without garlic, the foods would be so tasteless and without garlic growing in my garden - well, I can't even imagine how hopeless that dirt plot would be without those little green sprouts pushing through the snow. 
What inspires you? Share with me....

The backyard boss shared with me his tips and suggestions on garlic scapes. Please feel free to check it out:

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