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Written By Chris Bolich - Joseph and his mom picked the last pick of the succulent tenderette beans at our SALT Block Foundation garden today. Not only that, but they pulled the bean plants out and we cleaned the two beds. Joseph and I quickly came up with a system where he would pull the plant, put it to the right of the bucket of beans; his mom and I would pick the beans and then put the empty plant to the left of the bucket, where we could all put it in the bag for composting off site. I immediately did it backwards and kept pointing to the left for the pre-picked plants. He kindly but very confidently asserted in no words but looks that I was "doing it wrong." I laughed and laughed and hugged him, exclaiming, "You are so right, Joseph! My bad!" 

While picking and cleaning he said that he's a little bit crazy about kale. He can eat many bowlfuls at a time, and not necessarily cooked. It is truly his favorite vegetable. I learned a lot about 8 year old Joseph and his family while we picked, cleaned, and gleaned. For instance, he likes to play on words. So, when I said all we have left to do is to get the rest of the picked plants in the bag for compost, I joked and said, “You know, Joseph, the “Bean Bag.” He got it and held up a bean leaf and said, “Yup, It’s time to “leaf” them. We had a good laugh. I guess they still make bean bag chairs. I had a red one in college, and would do a lot of my studies sunk in that rustly thing; but that was a blast from the past ago. It’s funny how we all have connecting points. This is the beautiful alchemy that happens in a garden. Moments of labor and vegetable tending turn to gold. 

I asked Joseph and his mom if I could take their picture and where would he like it taken. A moment of introspection and he decidedly said, "By the kale bed!" Of course. Where else?  While at the kale bed, after photos, he and I played in the dirt and I taught him how to feel for moist soil versus dry soil and to touch the plants and just say hi to them.

As we were packing up, a young Mommy and her baby and young girl came strolling through the garden. Joseph’s mom suggested to him to say hi. Well, that's all the encouragement Joseph needed. He went up and took the little girl for a tour and then offered her a fresh green tenderette bean, which she promptly ate... and loved! ... 

This is how God works. That little girl would have never listened to me as she would have for a young boy so much more of her ken. 

And shortly after, I presented his picked beans to Hickory Soup Kitchen, while he ate lunch with his mom before his science class. 

Yes, Joseph hears God's voice saying, “Feed My Sheep.” And he does, before he even takes a bite of vittles for himself. Such a picture of the love of Christ poured out through this exuberant and massively large hearted red-headed boy. Oh, happy day! 

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