Yesterday was one of those crisp, bright autumn days when you feel like harvesting your garden and putting on a big pot of soup.
So when Peter’s friend Mark came over to play, that’s what we did.
As soon as he stepped in through the door, Mark wanted to go back outside. Gorgeous day, clear blue skies, of course! So we did. Peter and I showed him and his sister Lizzy our little kitchen garden, which we planted right outside our front door. May not be the most elegant place to plant a vegetable garden, with corn stalks lining the path and pumpkin patch instead of decorative flowers (though we have roses too!), but that way Peter and I can work on our garden as we go in and out the door. It doesn’t have to be an “event” just to get our shoes on and trek out to the back.
The garden is it’s own advertisement. It drew Peter’s little brother Luke out of the house away from his computer games. He came running out, eager to join the harvest. We had a contest of sibling teams to see who could find all three baby pumpkins first. I had Peter take a picture on my iphone of each pumpkin to be sure he really was spotting the pumpkins Luke would hastily point out. Mark and Lizzy won and got to have first picks of which carrots to pull out of the ground. We had a similar contest with finding ears of corn to harvest. Luke luckily has been carrying around his foam sword which was part of his knight Halloween costume. Luke used it to whack leaves out of the way, and it came in handy as a pointer for Peter. The kids paired off to pick the string beans together. Lizzy would hold the stem while Mark plucked and handed beans to his dad who would place them in his pocket. Lizzy thought the red Swiss chard looked pretty neat, so we harvested some for her mom.
Back in the kitchen, we baked pumpkin bread, practicing cooperative egg cracking (even squeamish kids can whack the egg with the dull end of a knife if the parent will then dispose of the eggshells), “close your eyes and guess which whiff is the cinnamon,” and decorating pumpkin muffins individually for each member of the family (“I wonder which toppings your dad would like?” “Look, Mark, Lizzy’s pointing to the dried fruit. Do you think she wants some of that on her cupcake?” I had Peter play the game nonverbally, so he’d have to attend to which toppings I pointed to with just my eyes.) The kids played “Chutes and Ladders” and read a book about seed to pumpkin while they baked. Mark took dad’s right hand, and Lizzy his left, and they frosted chocolate cupcakes as a three headed unit, with Mark therefore only having the use of his right hand and Lizzy her left. Before you knew it, the bell went off on the oven, and we had cheery pumpkin muffins to pack off as well as fresh vegetables to show mom.
As our guests left, passing through the garden again to get to their car, I felt the warm glow of autumn inside and out. The only thing better than having a fall garden to harvest is to have friends to share it with. I had to ask for it, but I even got big hugs from my little friends. Real hugs with big smiles! I felt like I made off like a bandit.
I went back into the house and put on a big pot of soup.