1. Tolerance from my family.  I spend a lot of time growing food, cooking food, and talking about food. While my husband and children do let me know how bored they are by my obsessions, often while helping themselves to seconds at dinner, they don’t really stand in my way.  Which they could.
  2. The Lake Avenue School Garden Club. If I were running this group alone, I’d have had the kids grow the vegetables and send them home with sacks full of them.  But my partner in this endeavor, who is in the process of becoming a science teacher, had the crazy idea that it was possible to cook with 18 kids.  So now we cook what we grow.  The food is amazing–imagine 20 people chopping at once–the excitement is irresistible.
  3. My country neighbors Rick and Martha.  He not only raises amazing pork, lamb, and chicken to complement my vegetables, he gives me fertile eggs when I want to hatch chicks–and then takes the roosters back when they turn out to be roosters, so I don’t drive my city neighbors crazy.  Martha is the best and most scholarly cook I know.  Answers all food questions.  Tries interesting things in her garden. Willing to talk food with me, unlike some of the above. 
  4. Rodale Books, for letting me say what I wanted to say about gardening. Coming soon to a book store near you.
  5. My dog Henry.  Without Henry, outdoor time would be limited to my beautiful garden.  Henry makes me take him for walks in the woods.  We see animals like martens.  We are thrilled.
  6. Seed catalogs. Someday, maybe I’ll trek the Himalayas. Right now, seed purveyors offer adventure enough.
  7. The Garden ProfessorsLove them for their skepticism and for forking all the bullshit advice in gardening onto the compost pile.
  8. Battenkill Valley Creamery. Their cream–no weird stuff added and just check the label on your supermarket cream if you want to know the difference–is so incredible, that I find myself cooking custard dishes so perfect, they are glassy. 
  9. Anyone willing to deliver 30 yards of mulch.  I’m struggling to find a source for wood chips in the country.  I think I need to have a conversation with the nice young logger who keeps eyeing my place.
  10. Garden Rant.  Love my partners, love the amazing opinionated people who take the trouble to comment here.