|A portion of my herb garden|
Today I harvested a large bowl of leaves and immediately made a classic pesto. Some pine nuts, some Turkish extra virgin olive oil that was a gift from my good friend Della, some parmigiano reggiano cheese, some garlic, and the fresh basil combined into a delicious concoction. I sliced off a small piece off crusty ciabatta bread, spread a thick layer of the pesto, took a bite, and promptly soared to heaven.
Gardening brings satisfaction and joy on many levels. Chief among the enjoyment is savoring the moments of harvest when you taste the results of your labor. The warm, ripe tomato fresh from the vine. The sweet, yellow ear of corn. The crunch and flavor of sweet peas. The exploding wetness of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The slobbery mouthful of melon. And now I add the spicy freshness of basil in pesto.
I garden because I enjoy the process. I like planning and planting. I even enjoy fertilizing and weeding. But the process has an end result and that is the harvest. I've had years with only one or two tomatoes being produced. I've seen thousands of apricot blossoms frozen by a spring frost. I've had birds destroy nearly an entire season's supply of apples. I've had many green pumpkins and green tomatoes when the ground is white. Even with results that others might deem as failure, I've persevered and enjoyed doing it all over again.
Enjoying a fresh herb like I did today makes an entire year memorable. There have been many successes in my garden this summer and a few setbacks, but the good memories will remain. My first pesto only happens once. It took years to make it happen and it was well worth it.