An Ode to an Onion

i picked it

I planted it.
I watered it.
I watched it.
I picked it.

i ate it

I ate it (with some quinoa and bok choy).

Here's a question that's been trolling around my brain for some time: Is it possible to enjoy something you're not very good at doing?

Take gardening. I love it. I love planning where I'm going to plant what, getting my hands dirty, watering early in the morning, patiently waiting for signs of growth, being surprised by what I find in the garden - yet I'm by no means a proficient gardener. If my family had to rely on my ability to grow food, we'd surely perish.

Of course, visiting someone else's garden is no help at all. The grass is always greener, the tomatoes redder, the zucchini longer, and the herbs taller. Still I love my little hopeless garden, in all it's stunted and straggling glory.

So I continue to water and pick and plan and watch. I may be no good at it, but at least I can enjoy it, and every once in a while eat something from it - even if it's just a small onion.


  1. That looks like my kind of meal. I love my little weed infested garden too, and I made a similar remark to my husband a few days ago regarding the fact that if my family was relying on me for our food (mind you there are 3 of us!) we would be in dire straights. And pulling an onion, some kale, a few leftover peas, or whatever to fashion a meal brings me no greater glory.

  2. Yes!

    I always see such balance in you - Your not a one horse pony (is that the saying?) - you don't let one thing become THE thing and take over all other things.

    Your plants may not be as lush as an other's but you've got homemade maple sugar. You enjoy lots of things. And by the looks of it, your "not that good at" always looks pretty great. You do lots of things well.

    Trust me - I'm picky!

    You seem to roll and let things go - even when you wish it was better or know you could do something more. I like that about you and try to learn from it as much as I can.

  3. Ab-so-tooting-lutely! Relish, savor, giggle with, delight in, cherish and roll around in (but not where the kids can see you or you'll have a whole family of muddiness to clean up) your lovely little imperfect garden. Carry on...

  4. Absolutely...you have to love it to return every day to what many consider to be hard work, or possibly even boring (I've never understood those people, I'm with you, gardening is one of my passions!) My best gardening lessons are learned from the mistakes I've made. When I show people around the garden this season, I have a few areas that I like to point out the things I've done "wrong"...that's how I learn!

  5. I can't seem to grow onions. Tried last year and failed. The ones this year aren't looking so good either. Better luck next year..

  6. yes, but the more you do it, the more you learn, the better you get. Sometimes it's a matter of water, heat, nutrients in the soil. My garden is VERY late. Like, my tomatoes aren't ripe yet. And I planted them in April.

  7. it's all about the soil..and what you pick to grow...some things we have no luck with, while others grow like weeds....the effort is part of it, but i really think it is the soil. we had a friend give us some peat moss that was taking up space in their shed. it has helped retain moisture and made a world of difference. i think manure helps too...although it is stinky...

  8. AnonymousJuly 17, 2009

    I believe that is what backyard gardening is all about - learning! I move everything around each year depending on how it did previous. Last year, I didn't get a single RED tomato. I blame the weather : )

  9. There are MANY things that I may not be very good at, but enjoy immensely - singing, gardening, knitting, throwing a frisbee, and the list could go on and on. But, they are just too much fun to let something subjective and obscure like "quality" make me stop! :-)

  10. Have you read Supper of the Lamb by Robert Capon? This post reminded me of that book...he dedicates an entire chapter to the humble onion. :)

  11. Your blog: Lovely. Love to you, Anna

  12. absolutely! this is our first year with a 'real' garden and we are enjoying it immensely. and we are even eating things out of it!!
    i have found that i really enjoy many things i am not good at. maybe it's because i know i have room for improvement and that keeps me going too. i have a tendency to get bored easily if i have something entirely figured out!

  13. Yes. I'm sure it's possible to enjoy something you are not good at doing. Especially if the enjoyment is in the doing - not in the result.

  14. You love what you do... that's all that matters :)

  15. Work like you don't need the money.
    Love like you've never been hurt.
    Dance like nobody's watching.
    Sing like nobody's listening.
    ENJOY YOUR GARDEN like it's Heaven on Earth…

    Enjoy it, Molly. There's nothing quite as satisfying as eating the harvest of a well-loved vegetable patch.

  16. I think my onions have brought me more joy than anything else I've harvested this season. I don't know why.

    You're doing so well!

  17. I'm the same way - love gardening but no good at it. Lovely drawing post too. I really nature journaling with the kids.

  18. Yum! It does taste better knowing it came from your very own garden... however humble it may be!

    If I only did things I was good at I would be missing out on a whole lot of life! Got to live it! That is the only way you get good at anything!

  19. I am one of those people who needs the process just as much as I need the result. In art, in the garden, etc... I don't feel the product would be as sweet without getting there by way of acting out something you enjoy. Even when the product is less than stellar, as it is more often than not for me!

  20. Any eggs yet? I've gotten 2 pee wees this week so it should be any time!

  21. Oh yes, Molly, you can certainly enjoy something even if you're not a very specialist of it. I've just started watercolors, just for fun, I'm not even good at it, and yet, I'm loving every bit of it !! And anyway, if you've managed to make onions grow, and eat them, then you're not that bad at all !! You've done everything right apparently !!
    Wishing you an amazing weekend, Molly. Big hugs oxox

  22. Oh Molly surely there is no such thing as a *small* onion when it is grown with such a big heart!
    Loved this post.

  23. AnonymousJuly 18, 2009

    Ahhh, don't you love the miracle of it all. That little seed or bulb and then whammmo you're cooking it up for dinner!!!!!!

    Mistress of all trades, master of none.

    My world in a nutshell.

    Nothing wrong in learning, my friend.

  24. we are truly blessed to have grocery stores..but hats off to you for trying, for nuturing and for actually harvesting. your onion looks delectable!

  25. Some of the things I love doing most are the things I'm not that great at doing!

  26. It looks like your 'straggling' onion made quite a proficient and gorgeous meal! Isn't that what matters the love that goes into what you do, the positive energy will certainly be felt by those surrounding you! And of course most importantly you know just what went into your homegrown meal! (By the way straggling is such a great word lol love that)

  27. AnonymousJuly 21, 2009

    It's so tough to think about the things that I think I can't love because I'm not good at them. But there are some that I do anyway, because it's about the experience and the journey, right?

  28. definitely believe that you can get tremendous enjoyment out of things that you’re not all that good at - in fact, it’s one of the lessons i’m determined to impart to the boys. as a perfectionist, i didn’t learn that lesson till later in life and then i realized what i had missed by quitting things when i knew i wouldn’t be a champion at them.

    at this stage of life i realize how much relaxed enjoyment i can get out of things when i say cheerily - to myself and others - oh, i’m not good at this at all, but i really love it!


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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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