Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Does Your Dinner Grow?

Ben eats things from our yard. Not bugs. He outgrew that a few years ago. Basil, mint, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, onion grass, pretty much anything he finds, smells and thinks might taste interesting is an option. Just need to clear the non-poison factor with mom and dad and he's a happy camper. I think he was a rabbit in a past life.

Of course, nothing makes me happier. In fact, we've expanded our garden to include that of our generous neighbors, whose expansive property houses such a bounty of fresh produce that it could make the local market blush. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash, peppers, beans and herbs aplenty. Optimistic rabbits flood their lawn, plotting in clusters how to get over or under the fence. They look at me jealously when I stroll over to pick what I need and nothing more, wondering what I've got that they haven't, besides dinner.

Our apple trees are a bit crabby, but Ben doesn't mind. The fruit is tart and juicy, and squishes up his face with each bite. But tent caterpillars out of reach are threatening to overtake them now, so I'm researching options for replacing them. Shade, pines, deer and rabbits, coyotes, foxes and other woodsy creatures already threaten our salad buffet of hostas, lilies, berries and apples, and Ben almost resents the competition.

But not really.

He is a lover of nature, all nature, after all. To nurture and care for our dogs and our garden, and revel in the results he can reap--love and affection, fresh munchies--seems to be his strongest trait. Perhaps he was a farmer in a past life, or a chef, or even a dad. Whichever, I love to watch him grow, and grow, eat and thrive.

What parent wouldn't?