Desert Nuns

“If I could be any vegetable in the garden…” and other deep thoughts

July 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Nun News Blog

“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD; the LORD will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green;  In the year of drought it shows no distress,but still produces fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7,8

IMG_0654Every evening, as the sun is setting, I water our little vegetable garden. There’s something almost poetic about the whole scene: The wide and beautiful Arizona sky, the cooling desert (mind you, it is still well over 100 degrees), and a lizard that climbs to the top of the house, turns toward the setting sun and raises his little head to bid the sun good night (I’m serious, he does this every night!). And usually, as I water the thirsty and struggling veggies, I think: “If I could be any vegetable in the garden, I would choose…?”

IMG_0792For a while, I definitely wanted to be an eggplant. Beautiful and bright purple or white THICK skin, great in so many Greek recipes, cool spongy insides, so uniquely shaped, and coming from such a beautiful white and purple flower! But then, they started to attract a lot of ants.  And the eggplant bed is now overcome with ants of all shapes and sizes.  Then to top it off, as the heat got hotter, the eggplant got bitterer. And bitter is the last thing I want to be! So I changed my mind.

Next I thought I’d like to be a tomato. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a tomato?! Everyone thinks you’re a vegetable, but you’re really a fruit. Tomatoes are super-versatile. They can be made into sauce, eaten raw, stewed, diced, and canned! But, alas, the tomato plants I have are very temperamental: they are NOT bearing much fruit at all!  I think we’ve only had 3 tomatoes! And to top it off, they attract these crazy looking caterpillars that in the course of one night completely destroy the plants. Yes, this happened here a few weeks ago – 7 GIANT green caterpillars chomped through 4 of the tomato plants in the matter of hours. When I finally spotted them, they were suctioned on to the plants, chewing greedily!  I had to pluck them off, and what a hard time I had prying them loose!  I decided that the last thing I want is to be easy prey to such caterpillars (which seemed so akin to temptation and sin)! So I decided that I wouldn’t like to be a tomato after all.

Then there are my two quite pathetic yellow squash plants. I must have planted them too late, cause they are the strangest squash plants I have ever had. They get these gorgeous HUGE blooms, then a little yellow squash, that remains just that: a little, tiny yellow squash that just dies on the vine. Yikes, I don’t want to be that kind of plant!

IMG_0652That leaves the only other living vegetable in the garden: Swiss Chard. My last choice? Yep. I mean, it’s just a ‘green’! BORING. No gorgeous fruit to brag about. And no flowers! Ah, but it has many high points I’ve begun to observe: It grows straight and steady. Forget to water? No problem. It stands as erect and resilient as always. It is impervious to insects it seems. No caterpillars bother it. No ants climb on it. It stands in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, with neighboring veggies falling to the right and the left, undaunted. Beating sun and 115 degree heat, it seems to say, with humble and confident surrender, ‘bring it on.’ The leaves are consistently a brilliant dark green and delicious. The stems with the varying color add just enough personality to keep it interesting. Cut it early and you have salad. Leave it grow till it is huge and it is not bitter. Saute it, blend it in a smoothie, throw it in the crock pot, add it to soup, plop it in a big pot of beans…and call it supper. Nutritious and delicious, albeit largely unknown Swiss Chard.

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7 Responses to ““If I could be any vegetable in the garden…” and other deep thoughts”
  1. Lisa & Shadow says:

    Very interesting lesson. Yes, I too ponder on how to stay steady no matter what is going on around us. Reminds me of St. John 15. The only way we can endure all things around us & not be affected, stay hooked into the Vine, Jesus Himself, our source of life. I never knew about Swiss Chard, but now I must try it.

  2. Alyssa says:

    How true! Best to be a sturdy green. I live in an apartment and my efforts at gardening in pots have been less than successful but my friends with green thumbs rave about Native Seeds (nativeseeds.org) as their southwest native and heirloom seeds seem to rarely fail to produce lots of yummy food.

    Sister, I am new to the blog and website. They are both beautiful!

  3. Tye (AKA The ranchers Wife :) says:

    It is so wonderful how God teaches us something about His Word. Must admit had the same problems with are garden. We had peas that would grow very well. My thought was if I could show my children how fun it was to grow something they would eat it. Well they tried it.

    God Bless!!!

  4. Chris Dieter says:

    Have you ever heard of a keyhole garden? I think this might be a great project for the sisters and any others who might lend a hand.
    http://vimeo.com/15630334
    Maybe I can check it out next time I come to install some stained glass.

    Chris Dieter
    Bovard Studio
    Fairfield Iowa

  5. Deb Morgan says:

    This was a great post! Someday you might plant Bright Lights swiss chard, which has stems in orange, yellow, red and pink. Nothing boring about it at all, and it’s just as tasty as its green cousin.

  6. Carole Ann Antuñano says:

    I love Swiss Chard and for a long time. My mother cooked it for us when I was a child. My mother-in-law would have it in soup and little crepes in soup when I lived in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico (near San Juan de los Lagos, where the miraculous, Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos, feast day August 15, is), and my friend, Dorothy Weber, grows the many colored varieties and shares it with her friends. Please pray for her, 89, and with many health problems. We also live in 115 degree summers. However, I left for a while to be with family and to go to school in much cooler weather. Did you try to distract the ants off their trail? They communicate. God Bless you sisters and thank you for taking the time to blog and inform us. I would like to send this particular blog to our friend who could share it with her. I pray I can do it.

  7. Carole Ann Antuñano says:

    I called my friend Dorothy Weber, 89, to share the blog about Swiss Chard. She was very grateful that I read it to her, but she told me that her son, Toby, was told today, that he has Cancer of the esophagus. Please pray for him.

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