When I’m not too busy (which is often) Charlotte and I take a walk to the garden for a mid-morning snack. We have a routine. She walks up the steps and pauses to pat the black ceramic frog I have next to the gate. She then takes her finger and traces out the stones that spell the initials of her name that we mortared onto the foundation.
Earlier in the season she turned right at the garden to make a grab at some lettuce. Now she turns left looking for strawberries walking along a tiny walkway between the raised strawberry bed and the greenhouse. The strawberries have come and gone quickly this year, no doubt do the the erratic conditions we have had this spring. Too hot, too dry, too cold, too wet. Definitely not the weather for Goldilocks or a strawberry. No matter, we have other things that interest her.
If she doesn’t turn into the greenhouse to rearrange the pots then she heads over a tiny walkway next to the sorrel. Grabbing a leaf or two and stuffing them into her mouth has become second nature for her as she surveys the rest of the garden. To the right are tomato plants that have just begun to express themselves with tiny flowers. Charlotte has yet to understand that these will be her go-to plants in a month or so once their tiny pear tomatoes begin to emerge. Next to the tomatoes are different types of lettuce that she often grabs. I need to be a little diligent in looking at the leaves, which have become second homes to the emerging slug population.
While munching away, she picks up a soap-shaped rock in the bird bath and puts it down more than a few times while splashing her other hand in the water. When she attempts to lick the rock, I divert her to other parts of the garden.
We tickle each other’s noses with sprigs of thyme and oregano that we have in abundance. Both of those scents make her give up a silly smile and chuckle to her grandfather. We then make our last stop over to the snap pea plants that are climbing up their trellis. I give her a pod or two and she looks them over before sticking one into her mouth followed by a satisfying crunch.
She then knows it is time to leave the garden and explore other areas of the yard. I help her up over the step from the rear of the garden and she walks to the gate signaling for my hand, leading me to our next adventure.