The Real “Most Wonderful Time of the Year…”

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by Krystal Krogman

To the South, a snowfall is a phenomenon. A beautiful rarity… once the initial Armageddon panic of a quarter-inch of snow dies down and they’re safely at home. And to an extent, I’d have to agree. Undisturbed snow is a beautiful thing… However, I’m not sure it warrants a song about it being the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Winter for most gardening folks means they’re cooped up. Their season has ended, and now they get to dream of sugar snap peas – instead of sugar plums.

A few years ago, a popular office supply store used this song as their commercial theme. It showed parents going through the aisles of their store throwing school supplies into their carts, while their children seemed less than enthused about the impending school year. To be honest, it is still my dad’s theme song come August.

I find that I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Williams and this office supply store. Neither December nor late August is the “most wonderful time of the year.” I personally look forward to spring and summer. No other time of the year can you see as many delights… and if you look at the lyrics of Andy William’s song “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” many of the lyrics can be applied in the late spring to early summer seasons too. Parties for hosting… Marshmallows for toasting… Scary ghost stories… loved ones near… even caroling (or singing) around a fire. Personally, a camping excursion or backyard get-together is much more fun than being cooped up looking out the windows…

Even more so than my family’s always entertaining cookouts, I love the smells of this season. Freshly mowed grass, cedar burning in the fire pits, the aroma of the blooming lilies (we have upped our number of lily plants to eight this year)… and the vegetables. Nothing says summer quite like the smell of tomatoes and corn. The smell on your hands after tending to the tomato plants really makes you question whether to wash the dirt off when you’re done for the evening.

Our garden is in full grow-mode… Thankfully we’ve been blessed with an abundance of rain, so not too many of our plants have been scorched from the heat. We’ve ceased the radishes for the season. Now we are concentrating on the other plants that, at first glance, may give the impression of overgrown weeds in the sunniest back corner of our yard. In fact, though, it is a thriving garden… and as a beginning gardener, I couldn’t be more thrilled. We’ve got our first five or six tomatoes growing and many more flowers on the six plants. Our beans have definitely lived up to their “bush” type and are producing delightfully large Provider green beans. We’ve plucked our first harvest of pea pods, although they never made it into the freezer. Fresh Little Marvel peas are just too good to pass up! Lastly, we’ve started to see some definite vining action on the cucumbers.

Our days are long, but the laughter and memories are plenty. We learn new things every day. Last night, in fact, I taught my three year old how to not only pick the beans but how to “snap” them. A week ago, he was learning where to find his treasured peas (hidden in the pea pods). He loves looking for the flowers that will, hopefully, blossom into fruit… and sometimes has to be reminded that not all fruits are quite ready to pick. (Twice I had to remind him the slicing tomatoes are not ready yet when they’re still very green and barely an inch and a half wide. At last count, we’re at just over two dozen tomatoes, and several more dozens of flowers!)

Yes, the blessings are plentiful in our yard… and I’m not just talking about the vegetable harvest. Sitting on my back porch with my loved ones near, and the fire glowing in the fire pit, I find our gardening souls are peaceful, and our stomachs satisfied with s’mores. How is your garden going and your soul growing?

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