Minding the Gap

credit: Ashkay Davis

I was walking with a friend around our farm the other day. We were looking at the weeds sprouting in the flower bed I am in charge of maintaining. And I confessed that I like the idea of gardening very much and I even like the act of gardening if there are fellow gardeners sharing the task very near my elbow, but a certain inertia sets in when it’s just me and the hoe. My friend, a fellow artsy-type who works as a filmmaker for an environmental organization, said, “Yes, I like the idea of caring for creation, but I have gaps.”

Perhaps it was simply the psychological balm of congruency, perhaps it was the sisterly intimacy born of confession, but whatever the reason, it felt good to admit and label my shortfall.

I am an earthkeeper. My absolutely favourite form of recreation is going for a walk in the woods. I know the names of most of the birds that visit our farm. The majority of the food I eat is cooked from scratch. But I have gaps.

So, I’ve set myself a gentle goal to mind the gaps, one at a time, and without guilt.

Gap Number One: Canning.

In my nearly 46 years of life I have helped two people can tomatoes. But I have never canned as much as a pea on my own. I like the idea of canning. I like the thought of pots bubbling with berries that will become jam, cupboards packed with peaches preserved in sugary juice, kitchen counters crowded with mason jars full of beans (with the light from the window filtering through all those stalks of green), tables laden with...

Uh, where was I?

How I will mind this gap? I will tap on the door of our housemate, Denise, who was raised by Mennonites and therefore knows how to can everything that might possibly grow in a garden, and I will ask her to help me can something.

Maybe beans.
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