There is a treasure just 175 paces from my farmhouse door. Unless one knows what they are looking for, the treasure is many times overlooked.  

To some it is a nuisance; to others they understand the value and sing its praises year-round.

It's been around for centuries, sometimes in vogue, other times considered poor man's substance. It just never seems to disappear completely.

For some it's a place of relaxation and creativity, to see what pretty displays can be made. For others the work is tedious, causing much frustration and angry words.

A haven for many hurting souls, where healing takes place. While others call it torture, and they can think of a hundred excuses why not to be there.

An expensive luxury, what with the costs of inputs and failures of visions that didn't go as planned. Money and time that could have been put toward different uses.

Other families would say it has proven to be a lifesaver, providing necessary sustenance in difficult times.

Those who loathe this treasure remember hot, humid days with plenty of bugs biting. Those who adore this gold mine only remember warm sunshine and a multitude of birds singing.

The thought of getting dirt under fingernails drives some people bananas. Others find it to be a remedy for whatever ails them, and they can't wait for spring to arrive to feel the soil beneath their feet and to dig in with their bare hands.

Back-breaking work from digging and bending over has the chiropractor's appointments lined up in advance. Others cancel their fitness club memberships depending on this pearl to get back in tip top physical shape.

Such a common name, GARDEN. To some it's a jail sentence, but to me and a host of others, it is a sanctuary. Each day is so different there, changing from morning to night. A garden is never the same as the year before.

Renae B. Vander Schaaf, freelance writer, lives on a real working farm in northwest Iowa. To Contact Renae B. Vander Schaaf, please email her at [email protected]