Our neighbors' garden. Beans and tomatoes.

The neighbors on either side of us have lovely gardens.

We used to plant our own.

For years, however, we have managed to avoid gardening. The soil here is rocky. We travel a lot.

Can you tell I’m making excuses?

Because other people labor in the soil, we often become the beneficiaries of their generosity.

Take brother-in-law Myron for example. He dropped off this huge cabbage, four cucumbers, and two squash yesterday.

This cabbage was huge! It will make yummy, crisp, cole slaw for many meals.

I used to feel guilty about enjoying the fruits of other people’s labor.

But then I learned to think about it this way.

We who don’t garden aren’t lazy. We are helping to avert tragedy! We help the extra vegetables not to rot on the stem in the field.

What if we, for example, grew our own zucchini?

We would have to give them to the little league for baseball bats. Or place them on the doorsteps of other neighbors. Or use up fossil fuel by taking them to the free veggie giveaway at church.

So if our lovely, productive, fruitful neighbors have a great crop and need some help, we’ll be there.

Altruists to the rescue!

Zucchini. Ready to reproduce faster than rabbits.

My New Beginning today will be to write a play script draft so that when Ted Swartz comes over to read it, he’ll tell me it’s as sweet as a mountain of cole slaw and as prolific as zucchini.

What’s your New Beginning? Have any involving the vegetable kingdom, gardening, stealing, rationalizing? Log them here!

63 Days Until Blush Launches



Shirley Showalter


  1. Marian Beaman on July 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Gee, you’re a playwright too!

    Loved the garden humor. Vegetable growing is my son’s domain. For now, I’m concentrating on posies in my patio garden.

    • shirleyhs on July 12, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Thanks for getting the humor intended, Marion.

      I’m loving this growing season, whether as the lucky beneficiary of leftovers or at the farmer’s market.

  2. Tina Fariss Barbour on July 12, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I needed to read this! We don’t garden, either, and sometimes I feel inadequate because of that. Silly, I know, but I grew up on a farm. My parents always had a garden large enough to serve the neighborhood. Shouldn’t I? Or so my thinking goes. But now I can just remind myself that I can help others use their overflow. 🙂

    Actually, we are talking about putting in raised beds for a garden next year. So I may have my hands in the dirt eventually!

    • shirleyhs on July 12, 2013 at 8:10 am

      Yes, Tina. Growing up on a farm does leave us with a silly bit of residual guilt. Hence, the magic wand. Be gone, guilt!

      And I haven’t given up on the idea of getting my hands in dirt, either. Maybe after the book launches and the tour is over??

  3. Richard Gilbert on July 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

    What beautiful photos! We have had so much rain here that my small garden is lush. I grow only 4 tomatoes, 4 peppers, a couple eggplants, some basil, a bunch of marigolds, and lots of perennials.

    And I thought you hadn’t been posting because my feed of your blog to my iGoogle page stopped with your post on prayer! Maybe I need to reactive it, or just subscribe by email.

    • shirleyhs on July 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Good to have you back again, Richard.

      Isn’t it amazing what a lot of rain and sunshine can produce from just a few plants? Hope you are enjoying your garden. Sounds like you could be a giver. I’m sure you have lots of friends like me willing to be takers. 🙂

      Hope you have found a way to get my posts on your iGoogle page. If not, let me know.

      When I switched to this website instead of having just a blog, it became easier for me to collect emails for my “How to Write a Memoir” offer but harder for people just to sign up for the blog. WP does give you the option of signing up for all posts after you comment, however. If you have trouble getting the Google feed, perhaps that will work?

      Enjoy this amazing summer and all its glorious produce.

      I’m eager to see your new website and to help you reach readers for what I know is going to be a wonderful book next spring.

  4. Richard Gilbert on July 13, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Okay, I will subscribe to posts here, Shirley. Not sure the problem, maybe just on my end with feeds.

    After I bragged we’d had few glitches in the transfer of my WordPress.com blog to free hosted, we are having some. All content DID move! But WordPress itself is confused about where my blog is—the old one that’s still up or the new one I self host. It’ll take a little time is all . . .

    • shirleyhs on July 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Right! I’m eager to test out the new site. Have quite a bit of work to do on this one before launch time!

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