Since December, the sheltered corner by our garage has been a vacant place—literally (except for the litter of leaves and dirt, and bags set out for recycling, and, in deeper cold, the heap of snow and ice, so quickly flecked with grit and grime.) But also, figuratively, in terms of the space that space takes up in my mind. Which is to say, not much—unless it’s raining. Then my kids and I call that little corner “the shady copse,” a phrase picked up from William Steig’s Shrek (the original book, not the movie). On rainy days, Teo and Magdalena like to dodge beneath the shady copse, aka the sheltered corner by our garage, and in this way stay relatively dry on the way to our side door.
Sometimes I dodge, too. “Shady copse” makes us all smile in the rain.
Once upon a time there was a big, old, messy tree, a maple, that also sheltered the corner by my garage; last spring we had to cut the maple down—disease. Now just the eves do the shady trick. Less shelter, but still enough to fend off rain, and as the season changes, the heat of high noon.
As of today, the sheltered corner by my garage has taken up more space in my mind. It happens to be gloomy out—rain may be in the offing—but the kids and I won’t be able to dodge beneath the shady copse if the clouds open. The corner itself is a space taken up. Look.
For the last five years, our house has been a drop site for a local, organic farmer. Her name is Vicki Westerhoff, and her farm, called Genesis Growers, is located in St. Anne, Illinois, about an hour and a half from our house. (Here’s the link, in case you’d like to see the place and the people who work it: genesis growers st anne il ).
I am so glad Vicki’s growing season has begun again. Here is one reason why:
I am no food photographer, but maybe you get the idea? My kitchen is happier. I am happier. For the last few weeks, I have been more aware (and annoyed) by the fact that I am often sprayed by the “singing in the rain” system that so unpredictably tries to keep the produce crispy fresh at our local grocery store. I am very glad to sacrifice our shady copse for a dousing by some actual raindrops between garage and side door. I am glad for food from Vicki’s farm.
There are other reasons I’m glad growing season has begun again, of course. They include the families who come to our house to collect their boxes. And Vicki herself. More on all this soon–but for now, I’m going to go spend some time in my kitchen, putting greens, radishes, turnips, carrots, and apples away, folding up my waxed box, and setting it back in the sheltered corner by our garage, for Vicky to pick up next week, spring growing season, growing on.