We Can Learn A Lot From Asparagus

Whoa! How many days has it been since I last blogged on here? Yikes! Life has gotten away with me it seems.

Of course it is spring now. And spring on the farm means there are so many things to get done in a day that they will not all get done. I don’t care how big your farm is, feeding and watering animals, mixing grains for fodder, planting and weeding the garden, harvesting vegetables, battling with the bugs and the neighbors cat and the escaped chickens, predicting the weather, hauling hay and feed sacks, digging compost, sweeping walkways, shoveling manure, gathering eggs … they never end. It’s all one big loop of “things to do”.

In the winter we are lulled into a false sense of rest. Sure we still have critters to care for and feed sacks to move and eggs to gather, but the garden is dormant, the compost is cooking, and the weather is cold and more cold. We actually have time to think about other things, to read a book, to watch TV.

But spring … is fast and furious and full speed ahead.

It’s like asparagus.

Since I won’t assume you’ve grown asparagus (yeah if you do or have!!!), I’ll mention that asparagus is a perennial plant that grows from tubers underground. You plant it once and every year there after, for about fifteen years or so, asparagus pops up and does its thing.

During the winter it lies dormant, protected by the earth, conserving it’s energy.

And in the spring, when the weather just starts to warm up, it sends up stalks one after the other like rockets begin fired from an underground launchpad. The pointed purplish end breaks through the soil followed by a thick stalk that turns green as the sunlight hits it.

And these suckers grow like the wind. One day they are barely pointing out of the ground and the next they are four inches tall. When they start growing, they take off and do their job.

At the end of the season for harvesting, the tubers send out thinner and thinner stalks. Once they are smaller than a pencil I quit harvesting and allow them to grow out into a huge fern like creature. The ferns are what store energy for the coming year so they are uber important to the plant. They have pokey little spikes on them, not really a thorn, but they do stick in if you grab them wrong. And they produce beautiful red seed pods as well.

The birds love the seed pods and will eat them scattering seeds everywhere. Thus why you’ll see asparagus growing in some odd places.

So, What can we learn from Asparagus?

1. When it’s time to do your job, do your job. Stay focused and get it done.

2. Adapt to your situation. When you need to be productive, be productive. When you need to gather energy, gather energy. When it’s time to rest, rest.

3. Don’t forget to add something beautiful to this world. Like the red berries on the lacy green foliage of the asparagus plant, we all have something to show the world to add a bit of color to it and make others smile.

4. Protect what’s important. As the asparagus puts out spikes to protect it’s lacy greens from being eaten, know when to use a thorn to keep yourself from being harmed. No one benefits when we allow ourselves to be abused or used.

5. It’s okay to take a break from it all. Go dormant. Say “no”. Take a vacation. The world will be better for it and will still be there when you return.

6. Stay for the long haul. If a plant can be productive for over fifteen years, without a brain or a heart, we can make it far longer than that. Commit to living, to marriage, to family, to passion, to compassion, to love, to whatever your heart desires. Give it your time, your energy, your focus, your life.

Asparagus. Oh wise one …


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