Spring and Dirty Fingernails Are Here

Inspiration can be found in the simplest of things.

It is still March, but it feels as though spring has been here in the Northeast for a month, if not more.  My flowers have been in full bloom, just as the demeanor of the people I see riding bicycles and strolling with their dogs after work.

It’s hard to feel anything other than refreshed, when it comes to seeing the color sprouting from the ground.  We’ve started to get our garden boxes ready and it’s only a matter of time before the unusual and potent scent of a tomato vine permeates my callused summer gardening hands.

My husband works so hard on the garden.  I’m sure he feels I do also, but he is really dedicated.  Maybe it is the Iowa farmer mentality.  Either way, I find myself very lucky to share a life and home with someone who takes simplicity and hard work seriously, but also has the spirit to make everything we do fun.  We aerated one of the garden boxes yesterday and picked out any grubby insects we found along the way.  We are determined to have a healthy showing of produce this year.  There is also an amazing amount of untapped gardening humor we discovered, as we laughed and combed through the dirt.

So spring is amongst us and the days will grow longer.  It won’t be long before the heat and humidity confines us to the one room that has air condition.  But it is too soon to think of that (I hope), so for now we will open the windows and let some much needed fresh air in, as I clutch my Benadryl bottle.  I will also start stretching and training so I don’t have a daily stumble over the rabbit fence around our garden all summer.  It’s starting to get embarrassing.  Such a klutz.

What Did New Jersey Do to You?

I was technically born in Philadelphia, but raised right over the bridge in New Jersey.  Despite popular belief, it is not the armpit of the country, it does not smell bad (outside of Newark) and there is a ton to offer, other than fodder for late night TV hosts.

Why does everyone hate Jersey?  What have we ever done to you?

There are some things that need to be cleared up.

  1. The Jersey Shore crew, yeah, they aren’t from Jersey.  They are from New York.  Don’t judge us on their characters.  Even the shore doesn’t want them there.  They did nothing but ruin our already ridiculed image and waste our tax dollars.
  2. New Jersey is the Garden State.  There is an abundance of agriculture and farming.  Though it is the most densely populated state, there is an array of pinelands, beautiful coastline, mountains, creeks, rivers and farms that add to the beautiful landscape.  As a matter of fact, bordering states know us for our delicious Jersey corn and tomatoes, and Ocean Spray uses our local cranberry bog farmers for their juice.
  3. North Jersey and South Jersey people have nothing in common.  This is a tried and true fact.  Though the state is only 170 long by 70 miles wide, South Jersey has no common traits or loyalties to North Jersey and vice versa.  They were originally two separate territories between 1674 and 1702 and they should have stayed that way.  South Jersey supports Philadelphia sports and clean air.  North Jersey houses New York fans and commuters.  I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that I’m partial.
  4. Don’t ask me who supports New Jersey major sports teams; I don’t know anyone who knows the answer to that.  There has to be somebody, I just have yet to find them.
  5. New York loves to make fun of us, yet they fail to recognize that Manhattan would not function without the assistance of New Jersey public agencies and our workforce.  Also, your beloved Giants play in Jersey, don’t forget it.
  6. Entertainment trends seem to define us.  We are also not all mobsters.  I won’t deny that they exist, but I also won’t admit to it.  I don’t want cement shoes.
  7. I realize I just said entertainment seems to define us, and I do somewhat resent that, but our state pumps out some of the greats to be proud of anyway; and many more.  They are in no particular order, but we’ll let the Boss believe otherwise.
  8. We love our diners.  We have the most in the world – how can you not love that you can’t get five miles without stumbling upon a place to chow down on an omelet at 3am?
  9. Thomas Edison did a lot of inventing here, while Atlantic City revolutionized gambling and leisure.  Light bulbs and slot machines are still important to our culture; I think you’ve heard of them.
  10. You can make fun of us all you want, but we’ve got hundreds of pluses and 8,821,155 people who tell you that you’re crazy not to appreciate our history and what we have to offer.  No, I don’t work for New Jersey, but if you visit, maybe you can drive my taxes down with tourism profits.