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I love to take in the world around me. I mostly use my eyes and nose to relish the living things that surround us.
I observe changes, like the later sunrise and the earlier sunset or the smell of fresh cut grass. As I drove home the other day, I noticed people along the way. People who were walking and talking or texting on their cell phone. People were driving and on their cell phone.
They missed that sprinkling of sunlight through the trees and the animal shapes the clouds made. Those walking barely looked up and those driving rarely stayed in their lane. It’s like they never want to be alone or unconnected.
I enjoy people, but I also savor the moments of being with myself. I notice more. Every Saturday, after a day at the stand, I go home, put things away and unplug. I don’t get on the computer or the cell phone. I sit on the porch. I notice life around me and appreciate the beauty and the gifts.
I think it’s sad that many folks never let themselves experience the rejuvenation this quiet time brings. It puts things in perspective for me. I not only think about the here and now, but the future and all that it holds for me. Then, one of the dogs will come up and plant a big slobbery kiss on me and the hilarity ensues.
If you find a moment to yourself, please put down the phone and stick a little toe in calm waters. Not only will it help you to really appreciate life, it’ll make you healthier. You’ll be reducing stress, which is like giving all your cells a vitamin.
Gardening does that as well, and as summer slowly comes to an end, it’s time to start whittling away at those left over chores. Take cuttings of your impatiens, coleus, geraniums and wax begonias. Place them in pots filled with rich, moist soil. Place them inside in bright, indirect light. Repot your houseplants while you’re at it.
Outside, grab the pruners and cut back all the bramble canes that you’ve been picking from, so the new canes can get more energy for next year’s fruit. After that, come inside and hit the magazine rack to flip through all the spring flowering bulbs pages in your gardening catalogues. It’s time to order some of those things you wished you had in the yard this year. They’ll arrive soon and you can get them in the ground now for next spring’s bloom.
After many readers’ requests, I’ve dug deep into my recipe files for things to do with zucchini. Besides grilling and bread, you can make pickle relish with zucchini, not cucumbers. You can also cut them up into french fry spears and put them in a Ziplock bag with an egg. Add Kentucky Kernal flour and grated parmesan cheese. Shake it up then spread them out on wrinkled foil on top of a cookie tray and bake them. Dip them in your favorite sauce and as the saying goes, “they’ll make you want to smack your mama.” Why is that good?
Now, do yourself a favor and go be with yourself. The world will still be here when you’re done and maybe, just maybe, you will have truly savored life in all it’s glory and a sneaking smile upon your face. Just watch out for the dogs. Happy growing.
Cheryl Steenerson is the gardening columnist for The Anderson News. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.