In my hippie days I lived on a communal farm in Olympia, Washington. I, of all people, a city girl from New York, somehow got the job of planting and nursing the garden. Being a relatively cooperative sort, I didn’t argue, though I knew my hair would frizz in the damp air (my biggest concern back then.) I just got out some gardening books, bought some seed packets and a shovel and started digging. First I needed to create the garden before I could even think of planting. That meant manually digging up a patch of land about 12’x12′. Fortunately, it rained so much up there that the ground was always soft and easy to till. And I was young and strong. The soil was a delicious chocolate brown, rife with squirmy earthworms who seemed not all that happy about being unearthed. You couldn’t wait for a sunny day to dig or plant in Washington, so I’d pull on my rubber boots and rain parka and go to work. I can still feel the weight of the mud and water on my jeans when I got up to move from spot to spot. It didn’t occur to me to wear gloves; I just dug my hands into the ground. The damp earth and I became as one. I planted the seeds in semi-straight lines and grew excited as my three-year-old daughter and I watched the seedlings poke up through the surface and begin to look like the pictures on the seed packets. Lettuce, tomatoes, squash, peas, green beans, strawberries, nasturtiums, calendula–I pored over the gardening books in the evenings looking for ways to mulch and for natural methods to keep critters out of my garden. Unfortunately for them, they found their way into my rich Garden of Eden anyway. And when I saw the little black slimy things eating my strawberries and the big fat ugly yellow slugs sliming around my romaine, I immediately set out pie plates of beer and a border wall of salt (oops! That sounds a little Trump-y, doesn’t it!) which put an end to their evil encroachments and left the yummy vegetables to flourish and fill the plates of our families. My daughter, however, has never forgiven me for dehydrating the slugs and snails. But being as she has long been a vegetarian, I hold out hope that she will someday forgive me.