Gratitude Today


I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.


Sept 29, ’13

“Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy…. It is of such fundamental importance to the human condition that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were deemed to be unalienable rights by the United States Declaration of Independence…. Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion.”  (Wikipedia)


In recent weeks I’ve been aware that I’ve been feeling happy.  This is good; I’m happy about this state of affairs, grateful for this gift….

When I first started living in this new apartment, I was far from happy and had to do a lot of mental work just to maintain a sense of equilibrium and sanity.  I constantly do the work; somewhere along the way the sense of pain and pressure eased-off and the happiness snuck up on me.

The list is long. Here’s a partial….

High on the list; Tomatoes….  I’m happy to report that I’ve had a successful growing year.  In May I planted 3 heirloom plants in 5 gallon plastic buckets and placed them in a sunny part of my yard.  These 3 plants have had much attention and care throughout the summer; through heavy rains, intense heat, wind, dry spells and whatever a day might bring.  I’ve enjoyed the sight of and smell of these plants every day since mid-May.  My care and attention has paid off.  For the past month, I’ve enjoyed a wealth of tomatoes.  I’ve eaten countless tomato & mayo sandwiches, which is one of my most favorite sandwiches on earth.  For the past few weeks, a friend who has a flock of chickens that have just started to lay eggs has been giving me the overage — a dozen eggs per week.  I’ve eaten countless organic tomato and organic egg salad sandwiches – another of my favorite sandwiches on earth.

The gift of organic eggs and organic heirloom tomatoes; priceless! 



I’ve had enough tomatoes for me and some to give away!

Also high on the list; Raspberries, the ones growing in my front yard….  I’ve enjoyed watching the process of Raspberry canes this past growing season.  I knew nothing about raspberries until these that I discovered growing in my front yard.  My Raspberry Bramble has given me much pleasure since May when the canes poked out of the earth and started reaching for the sun.    Soon the canes were so thick and plentiful they covered the ornamental bushes that are planted on the bank where they grow.  Soon after, there were tiny white flowers and many bees.  I could hear the bees from my living room.  Soon after, tiny nubs of future berries, then small white berries that grew larger every day – and always, Bees.  Since the end of August, the berries started to ripen and it’s been my custom to pick the ripe berries in the afternoon where I get to stand in the sun and enjoy the color of ripe and not ripe raspberries against their own green leaves and the blue sky.  Right  in my front yard, 15 seconds away from my front door….   

My mind has gone into past memories of picking berries at home when I was a kid.  Part of the enjoyment of this Raspberry Bramble has been the memories – and sharing them with my 91 yr old mother.  Her memory is sharp and she has much to add to the conversation.   My Raspberry Bramble is approximately 6’ x 10’ but when I’m in there picking, it feels much larger than that – like a world of bramble and berries.  I originally thought of my Raspberries as growing in a Raspberry Patch but when I googled raspberries, I discovered that a bunch of raspberry canes growing together in one spot is called a ‘Bramble’ and I liked that term better. To date, I have 12 quarts of raspberries stored away in my freezer.  I’ve had enough for me and enough to give to others.  Today I picked a quart and a half.  I froze the quart and the half is going into chocolate cupcakes.



Zucchini:  I planted a few seeds in a large pot about 6 weeks ago.  My original planting had gone to the Vine Borers and I decided to try one more crop before Frost.  The seeds I planted grew and flourished.  To date, there are 3 baby zucchinis growing in that sunny patch in my back yard, close to the tomatoes.  I have hopes for a better crop next year and am grateful for the few zucchinis I’ll have this week and next.


Sunflowers: I planted many seeds from the best of last year’s meager crop on Culvert St.  This year’s crop was less meager but for Mammoth sunflowers, they were all quite small.  Nonetheless; at the moment, I can count a dozen nodding flower heads, small as they are.  The color and the nodding are a delight to my eyes.  This is the 3rd week that they’ve been blossoming!



Then there are blue Morning Glories, red begonias, yellow Mexican Tarragon and white Petunias.  Gardening was good on Culvert St but not nearly as productive or exciting as it has been here in my new place.  I’m deeply grateful for this abundance that has in many ways, shapes and forms, given me so much food – for thought, for my eyes, to eat in favorite sandwiches and for the upcoming winter months.



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6 Responses to Gratitude Today

  1. beetleypete says:

    A great post about the simple pleasures in life Gretchen. You have made much from a small area, and it all looks delicious, and colourful too. You should be rightly happy, able to enjoy your ‘crops’, and the eggs from your friend.
    We need to reflect more on these simpler things, and we might all be less stressed!
    Nice painting of tomatoes too.
    Regards from England as always, Pete.

  2. Great post on gratitude…and nice things to be thankful for!

  3. Congrats on your successful gardening this year. My first pumpkin vine did well this year. Next year I am going to try my hand at tomatoes! Great post.

  4. Kathy says:

    I am suddenly terribly hungry for some of those organic eggs and heirloom tomatoes! Looking good. Gardening can surely make us feel grateful, can’t it?

    • Thanks for your comment, Kathy. I find gardening to be nurturing and healing on so many levels from the time I plant the first seed to the end of the growing season. I’m grateful for all the benefits.

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