Dill Weed

I’ve been craving dill. I’ve been eating it on my eggs in the morning, on my salads – everywhere I can. Like the food spaz that I am, I’ve pulled it from the container (because I haven’t been able to wait for local dill) and just held it up to my face to breathe in its scent, which lately has seemed so fresh and alive, I can’t even stand it. It’s like aromatherapy that elicits yearning for Spring.

I love the days when Spring slides her way into Chico and the Saturday morning farmer’s market smells like dill from a block away, the morning sun warming the freshly-harvested fronds until they release their fragrance into the city air, making me happy to be alive.

The smell of dill makes me want sunshine. And sunshine makes me want to hike through Upper Park all the way to the fish ladders, scaling rocks and leaping over poison oak to get there, working up a sweat and cooling off by swimming naked among the looming cliffs and playful waterfalls of the canyon. If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want some milk to go with it, right?

At my house, we’ve been talking a lot about transforming our double lot within the city limits into a seriously robust, produce wonderland. We have plans to add corn, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, squash, melons, and lots more to our existing herb, cold-weather greens, and chicken operation.

Because the weather has been gracious and offered a little rain to soften the earth, the tilling can begin. Soil will be brought in, plants will grow, and I’ll have a steady supply of dirt under my fingernails until fall. We’ll also stay busy trying to keep the family dog from doing his business in the garden, and another year will breeze on, but this year we’ll connect a little more to the soil, to each other, and to our food.

It’s in my genes. I’m a farmer’s granddaughter. So is my good friend, Erica, who will help us tend our garden this year. My partner, Woody, has a naturally green thumb, which makes up for his lack of ability to rest for long. We’ll put him to work in the garden, where he’ll put all that energy to very good use.

My kids will grow up like I did, eating food grown with their own hands and the hands of the generation before them. We’ll can tomatoes, pickles, and keep up with the kombucha making. Maybe they’ll be lucky enough to realize it’s in their genes, too. And they’ll share it with their children, and their children’s children. I’ll hand off that thing that evolution has taught us: how to survive; and that thing our hearts have taught us: how to love.

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Jen Cartier misses Chico! However, she has taken to the great beyond (er...The Bay Area) to be some kind of chocolate maven while simultaneously figuring out how the hell to navigate her long-ass work commute, and still kick ass at raising three munchkins, loving one soon-to-be husband, and keeping one rascally Brittany Spaniel in the damned yard. She loves Nutella, red wine, and American Spirits. She takes her dog along on runs to wear him out (sometimes he shits in someone else's yard - bonus!) and also to balance her own general consumption of all the fine tasty things life offers, ciggys included. Follow her blog at riceflourmemoirs.com