It wasnâ€™t exactly a partyâ€¦
There was some sweating going on. Some sunburns and more than a few bug bites. But it was fun.
I had spent most of the last two weeks in the studio here at our farm editing from morning til night. Getting Joeyâ€™s film ready to go to the sound-editing and coloring and the other gazillion things that have to be done before it comes out in theaters in a few weeks. Anyway, I was in need of a break. And our poor garden was in need of some love. Big time.
Fortunately, on Sunday evening, a bunch of love showed up.
It showed up in mini-vans with carseats and faded-leviâ€™s with gardening gloves in the pockets and kids holding empty wicker baskets in their hands. Some very kind neighbors, family and friends came over to help harvest the garden.
Or at least to help us try to find the vegetables that were in there somewhereâ€¦ hidden by weeds that had overtaken what were beautiful rows of corn, cabbage, okra and a dozen other things that weâ€™d planted back in the spring.
I grilled out hamburgers and hotdogs and everyone else brought sidesâ€¦
We all ate dinner together and then proceeded to go find our future dinners on the other side of the fenceâ€¦
Young Sam found some beans that his mama and sister picked (while he played)â€¦
And his older brother Asher wiped the tears out of his eyes from the hot pepper that he and his daddy had sampledâ€¦
Our neighbor Gabe found that cowboy hats and bibs go together pretty-darn well (I couldâ€™ve told him that)â€¦
And Indy had a great ride around the garden with her friends Ezekiel and Caleb. Little Caleb is a year older than Indiana and has down syndrome tooâ€¦
Calebâ€™s mama and Joey used to get together and talk about how Indiana and Caleb are going to get married someday and weâ€™ll be in-laws, so I like to call Caleb â€œIndyâ€™s betrothedâ€â€¦
Somewhere in the mountains of weeds, we managed to find acorn and spaghetti squash and watermelon and cucumbers. And even some green beans, banana peppers and tomatoes tooâ€¦
Back up on the porch, my two sisters Marcy and Candy did their best to get Indy to eat her dinner, but she kept signing â€œice creamâ€ instead. Ever since we made some homemade dairy-free ice cream for her a couple weeks ago, thatâ€™s all she wants to eat, all the timeâ€¦
Back in late March, we had started planting the gardenâ€¦ me, Hopie and Indy and my sister Marcy, along with our good friends Cowboy Danny and Allison. Joey had left me detailed notes of when and how to prep the garden and what to plant. And so, between the information she gave me and some advice we got from friends, we got our seeds ready (along with a few of the plants that Joey had started in Indiana) and started digging in.
These are a few clips from that first day of tilling and plantingâ€¦ and some more I took through late June I would guess. The last ones are just before we left on our family vacation to Montana for two weeks and came back to find a chaotic rain forest where our organized garden had once beenâ€¦
I canâ€™t help but continue trying to capture moments as we live them with my camera. Itâ€™s become habit by now, after doing it for more than two years while Joey was still with us. Iâ€™ve spent most of the summer working on the film and watching Joey in the garden, planting and weeding and harvesting, year after year. You see her in her garden just weeks after she had the baby, and before and after every surgery she had. To say that she loved it is a understatement.
Itâ€™s been so beautiful to see again. I canâ€™t wait to share the movie with everyone. In the meantime, this is from a blog post I made in June 2015, just after Joey had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. You can read the entire post here if youâ€™d like. Like always, Joey not only found solace working in her garden, itâ€™s where she talked with God and He reassured that everything was going to be okayâ€¦even when it wasnâ€™t going to be okay.
As I write this, we just finished having dinner here at the house. Most of things on our plates were from the garden partyâ€¦ green beans, okra and onions that Hopie cooked to go along with the chicken that my sister Marcy made.
Although the garden this year isnâ€™t even close to what it would be if Joey was still here, I think she wouldâ€™ve been proud of it. Proud of us. And even more so, proud that that little patch of land that she loved so much is still bringing friends and family together, and feeding her loved ones.
What a beautiful blessing.
Read it all HERE