Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Conversations over a catalog

Seed catalogs are my children's answer to the bulky Christmas catalogs of my youth. You remember the 400-page tomes that would come in the mail, only to be fought over, scurried away, bookmarked and circled and flagged and abused, until Dec. 25 where they would be forgotten in the darkness of the closet.

For my kids, the seed catalogs represent beauty. And hope. And excitement. And dirt. And colors. And mud. And doing something tangible with their own two hands and a water hose.

And if you find just the right catalog, the one with bold colors and brighter promise, you unlock something within my children.

The good seed catalogs get whisked away to an armchair, where the kindergartener thumbs page after page, her little legs barely sticking out from underneath.

The really good catalogs get my preschooler's attention too, and risk breaking out a fight over the books.

But it wouldn't be a good catalog without a good wish list. And they've got theirs.

My 3 year old wants to plant chicken nuggets. But he'll settle also for okra, which he discovered and we ate for about three weeks' straight last summer.

My 5 year old goes for creative color, opting for the purple carrots, the red Asian beans, a rainbow of flowers.

My husband salivates over pages of heirloom tomatoes, which he'll want to try all of but will settle for a few good black krims.

But what's most fun about seed shopping is the conversations we have. We talk about growing, and cooking and colors. We talk about silly things. And it's fodder for many a mealtime conversation this summer.

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