The large garden, small eco farm, is really coming along. There is something satisfyingly sweet about using a pickax and a shovel to remove dead tree stumps from bulldozed land. Tedly and I gardened in Cleveland, but this is a whole new level for me.
For the first time in my life, I used a pickax. WHAM! I slammed it into dirt and tangled roots and decaying stalks of knocked-down trees. YANK! I loosen it all to be shoveled and pulled out and thrown into a nearby gullet left by heavy machinery some time ago.
The earth is dry and chunky on top. Underneath a few scoops, it’s like mud bricks. It’s moist and smells a tad sweet over earthy. The trees – palms? – are really more like thick stalks with tangled roots. The cleared land will eventually be planted. Much of the perimeter already has small growth – banana trees, okra, peppers, a native plant similar to spinach – I forgot the name.
My arms are sore, I had a blister from an old shovel, my breastless chest feels tight from the workout. Yet I’m happy to feel so alive when I’m out there, working with earth. I’ve decided to help at the garden on a regular basis.
I look at Mom Diane, shoveling away. She’s 81 and I swear she’s in better shape than me. She recently told Tedly she does not mind anyone knowing her age – and I’m glad. Her active lifestyle should be inspirational to everyone.
Some Philippine leaders suggest people plant gardens. I think that’s smart. As food shortages become an issue back home in the U.S.A., how many Americans are planting gardens? I know of one person. Here, our landlady had the vision and initiative to start her large garden a few weeks before we arrived. I think she’s smart.
After an hour or so of fun labor, I jump into the ocean – in my gardening shorts and tank. I rub my muddy hands together in the saltwater and kick my legs and feet and swim a little – the water swirling around my toes and taking earth back from me. I like to garden in my flip flops – keeps my sneakers clean and I feel … grounded. Nearly barefoot on Earth.
Today, Tedly got involved in the sunset shift, although I didn’t see him using the pickax to break up the dirt mounds to free the stumps. He is pictured below with two of our new friends at the Hangout Beach Resort.
The rest of my day was free – to read, nap, text some people and email others. The people I communicate with outside social media are the people I wish I could see today. Well, once this pandemic is over and we are mobile again, maybe we’ll make travel plans to see more of those people.
In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy life here. The sunrises and sunsets, earthy gardening, salty swimming, sunny days.
I wonder if we will be here long enough to see a lot of production come from the garden. I will guess: yes.
Thanks for reading “Pandemic sunsets and gardening as an expat.”
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