It wasn’t supposed to grow there but we think our mystery seed is from a mini pepper my son poked into the avocado plant pot. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

It wasn’t supposed to grow there but we think our mystery seed is from a mini pepper my son poked into the avocado plant pot. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: The seeds of change

Fast forward to the quarantine days.

Oh hello again. I’ve missed you. To be honest, I got laid off as I was trying to finish up my last column so believe me, the surprise ending was a bit of a shock to me too. But hey, don’t blame the newspaper. Times are tough as we all try to manage the new COVID-19 life.

The way we keep the paper free for you is with ad revenue from companies with stuff to sell. With everyone staying home worried about their health and their jobs, people aren’t buying as much stuff so there’s no real push for businesses to display their wares in the paper and no ad revenue means employees get cut.

The problem is community news has never been more important. Local papers are where we really find out what’s going on in our neighbourhoods. So, here I am to try to help. I’m back to try to help the editorial team tell you the things you need to know about where we live. It’s not an ideal situation for anyone. To be frank, we are working with a skeleton crew and nobody is working their full schedule of hours. But we’re doing it for you and we’re doing our best because it’s the right thing to do.

Now, where were we?

My husband is sentimental. I don’t really know how to say it without emasculating him but he’s a pretty thoughtful, caring guy. So, when our babies outgrew the crib, the same crib my sister’s three children had also used, he had the idea to cut the crib up and make it into picture frames. We could put a photo of each child in the crib into their crib frame. Sweet right? Anyway yeah. Nice idea. For the last two years, the crib was sitting in my garage gathering spiderwebs, dust, and who knows what.

Fast forward to the quarantine days.

I got laid off but I can’t really sit still, so I thought the time was perfect to dig into those frames. I don’t have the biggest workshop in my garage but my dad, who lives nearby, is pretty well-equipped for woodworking.

One day I loaded up the kids and the crib (not the kids in the crib) and drove over to my dad’s house. I dropped off the parts in his driveway and came home. Normally I would have stayed but…coronavirus. Instead I went home and we talked about the project online.

It became clear that we were going to have much more wood than required for the frame project. I got to thinking about other projects we could do. Given we had plenty of time and that my son planted potato seeds with his Kindergarten class the day before spring break and will likely not get to enjoy seeing them grow, I asked my dad if he could maybe cut some of the wood up to make the kids mini greenhouses of their own.

Half a day later, I was wrapping two perfect little mini greenhouses in a clear shower curtain liner that I found in the closet. We planted radishes, beans, peas, tomatoes and who knows what else. My step-mom gave us seeds and we also found other stuff kicking around the house.

I wanted to teach the kids that you don’t need to go to the store and buy seeds. When we were done with our celery we chopped off the base of the bunch and stuck that in dirt. We jammed some apple seeds into a pot or two. We dumped out the middle of a mini pepper into another pot.

Long before the quarantine ever started we decided we were going to grow an avocado tree. It became kind of a running gag with my mom to see who could do it better. Well, she’s got a bazillion little avocado plants all around her house now just because she can grow them from the seed. Thus far we have managed to grow and keep one avocado tree alive from seed. It lives on our kitchen table and every time the kids eat something containing seeds, they go and poke it into the dirt under the avocado tree.

Recently one of those mystery seeds sprouted. While we were waiting so patiently for our greenhouse seeds to grow, it was a little seed planted weeks and weeks ago, that found that the conditions were, seemingly all of a sudden, just right to grow.

Sometimes it takes a while to grow. Sometimes you have to plant the seed and ignore it for a while before something magical happens. The reality is it’d been growing all along but we left it alone to do its thing. Sometimes you grow in a spot you weren’t really intending to but it turns out pretty cool anyway. And sometimes you don’t know what you started growing until one day it sprouts.

So that’s my hope for these days of isolation. Let’s hope that the seeds we’re planting together these days — both the intentionally-planted-in-a-greenhouse kind and the random-poke-it-into-the-dirt-of-another-plant kind — will one day end up producing what we need.

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