The Year of Adventures

Portrait of man in straw hat with lush garden in background
Man wearing t-shirt with shape of South Carolina on it stand in front of sunflowers taller than himself
Garden basket filled with small red peppers, green tomatoes of various shapes, basil and a few other
Five small diamond textured jars filled with orange-red liquid sit upon a towel

2020, a year, we thought we were going to roar into it as Americans did during the 1920s, it was going to be the roaring 2020s. For me 2020 was going to be “The Year of Adventures”, a year full of experiences and adventures, concerts to attend, travel throughout the south east to see various sites, and travelling to Maine to bury my grandmother.

Then March arrived, I was supposed to travel to Austin the weekend of March 13th to visit friends and attend a few SXSW events. As concerns of cases rising the morning I was to leave, I texted my friend, and told him my concerns, I didn’t go.

Following the cancellation my life became centered around home, as my husband and I began working from home, me the following Monday, and him a week or two later. In lockdown we went. The extent of leaving the house was going to the grocery every 2 to 3 weeks. I began setting up and extending our pantry in our basement, it was unsettling. My days devolved into working during the day, calling my parents every evening, and drinking until I went to bed, day after day and that went on for months.

My paranoia of not being able to have some semblance of normalcy and contracting COVID, I searched for an outlet, a project, and embarked on a victory garden, or as I called it, a COVID Garden. Yearly, I normally have a small vegetable garden roughly 100 square feet, but this year, I peeled turf away, and expanded my garden to somewhere between 800-1000 square feet. I used my greenhouse and the collection of seeds that I save from year to year, and sowed the seeds into planting trays. I went so far as sharing these seedlings with neighbors and friends, so they could start their own gardens as well, I shared nearly 200 plants including tomatoes, beans, okra, and more.

The garden provided me an outlet from the rigors of being confined and isolated from others, and allowed me for moments to be distracted from the tumult that was impacting our nation and the world. It offered me a focus, something to tend to, and leading me to a greater appreciation of what our forefathers and foremothers had to do to sustain themselves before food stuffs were so readily available. As the season progressed, the bounty provided me opportunity to expand my knowledge and ability to can and preserve the harvest. I fermented peppers for hot sauce, turned tomatillos into salsa, pickles, and wine from the grapes to name a few.

Living in South Carolina, provided the garden, opportunity, to go late into the fall, with my last gathering occurring around Thanksgiving, and the last green tomato I gathered ripening in late December.

My year of adventures, was less so about traveling and experiences outside the home, it did provide varied experiences, as it did for most. Now off to plan my 2021 COVID Garden.