Pearl – A Family Garden Story (2019)

PEARL A Family Garden Story Written and Illustrated by Carolyn Olson
Front Cover Pastel on paper 25″ x 30″ $1,500 unframed
Pearl’s northern town saw four seasons with summer being the most special. She worked mornings at the grocery store and lived with her parents and three children: Young, Angel, and River. Pearl’s sister Jewel lived next door and they shared the back yard with it’s apple trees and raspberries.
(Page 2-3) Pastel on paper 25″ x 50″ $2,000 unframed
Pearl loved to cook. The family would eat the goodness everyday. But, some days when Pearl was too tired to cook Auntie Jewel would step in and sometimes the kids cooked. At the end of the day, whoever was available made the evening meal.
Friends visited. Grandpa and Grandma waited at the table; someone would bring a plate and a cup of coffee. Sometimes Auntie would arrive after work, eat quickly and then zip out the back door, on her way to her evening plans. Everyone was welcome.

(pages 4-5) Pastel on paper 25″ x 50″ $2,000 unframed
Early that summer the city gardener came by with news of a community garden initiative. The plan was for neighbors to turn their lawns into gardens. Pearl talked with her family and neighbors. Would they accept their seedlings and seeds?
“Nothing grows here,” said Mr. Harris. He lived across the street and worked construction.
“Too short a season!” said Ms. Johnson. She lived across the alley and managed the corner bookstore.
“Not enough yard!” said Ms. Phillips. She lived next door to Auntie Jewel and ran the community youth center.
Page 6 Pastel on paper 25″ x 40″ $1,500 unframed
Mr. Harris‘s Opinion
Page 7 Pastel on paper 20″ x 28″ $1,125 framed
Ms. Johnson’s Suggested Reading List
Pages 7 Pastel on paper 20″ x 28″ Sold

Giclee print available
22″ x 30″ unframed – $350 shipped
12″ x 16.5″ unframed – $250 shipped
To purchase artwork contact Jeff or Penny at Lizzard’s Gallery or call 218-722-5815
Ms. Phillips Explaining About Space
Pages 7 Pastel on paper 20″ x 28″ $1,125 framed
It seemed that folks had no interest in gardens. But Pearl thought this garden was good to do. The vegetables would grow. She would use them in so many dishes! She could see the green salad with tomatoes, smell the ratatouille, and taste the tomato sauce. Once Pearl understood what a garden could do for her family she knew it ought to be planted. Were we all so busy working only to buy other gardener’s food?
Pages 8-9 Pastel on paper 25″ x 50″ $2,000 unframed
She had to agree that more time would be needed to plant and tend a garden. Pearl kept thinking. Who could help? Her busy kids? Her parents? Jewel? After dinner that night, Pearl asked, “Who will help me plant the garden?”
“I can’t tonight. I got something over at Max’s place.” said Young “Maybe another night.”
“We don’t think we can carry all that.” replied the Grandparents
“You have got to be kidding! I just got my nails done! I can’t be sticking them in the dirt!” said Jewel.
Page 10 Preliminary sketch

Off to Practice with the Band I Love You
Page 11a Pastel on paper 20″ x 28″ $1,125 framed
Elders Resting in the Living Room with Grandson River
Page 11b Pastel on paper 20″ x 28″ Sold

Giclee print available
22″ x 30″ unframed – $350 shipped
12″ x 16.5″ unframed – $250 shipped
To purchase artwork contact Jeff or Penny at Lizzard’s Gallery or call 218-722-5815
Auntie Doesn’t Like to Get Sweaty
Page 11c Pastel on paper 20″ x 28″ Sold

Giclee print available
22″ x 30″ unframed – $350 shipped
12″ x 16.5″ unframed – $250 shipped
To purchase artwork contact Jeff or Penny at Lizzard’s Gallery or call 218-722-5815
“Well, then,” said Pearl, “I’ll do this myself.” And she did. Each morning she tended the garden and watered it while sipping coffee on the back patio. She could feel the seedlings growing. Summertime! It was BBQ picnics and swimming, backyard plays and festivals. . . and the garden kept growing. Young’s band practiced, Angel and River rehearsed their play…and the garden continued to grow.
Pages 12-13 Preliminary Sketch
During the last weeks of summer the garden was bursting and ready to harvest.
“Who can help me pick the tomatoes?” asked Pearl.
“We’re playing for the school dance and have to practice.” replied Young.
“I don’t move too well.” mumbled the Grandpa.
“You have got to be kidding if you think I’m going out in that garden and get all sweaty. These are my work clothes. ” said Jewel.
Then she hesitated, “But I will say,” added Auntie Jewel, “these beans are excellent! I didn’t realize beans could taste this good! Got to go! Love you!” and ran out the door.
Page 14 – Preliminary sketch
Band Rehearsal
Page 15b – Preliminary sketch
Grandparents Limbering Up
Page 11b – Preliminary Sketch
Jewel Eating Beans
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New Freezer
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Page 16b – Preliminary sketch
Baking bread
Page 16c – Preliminary sketch
“Well, then,” said Pearl. “I guess I’ll figure out how to do this myself.” Pearl harvested instead of watching the play. Rather than attend the annual festival in the park she picked corn for succotash and tomatoes for gazpacho and sauce. The garden poured vegetables into Pearl’s hands for weeks. She had to go buy a freezer to
store all of it.
“This will last us all winter,” she thought.
She learned to can beans and carrots. She blanched and froze corn and peas. She learned to make pesto and focaccia. She turned berries into jelly. It took ALL her free time.
Page 17 Preliminary sketch
“Mom, can you come see us play at the festival tomorrow?” asked Young “River and Angel’s play is a little later in the day as well.”
“I guess I can take a break. said Pearl “But there are so many tomatoes and they need to roast all day,” thought Pearl as she walked back out the door toward the garden. Her family felt Pearl was neglecting them. Neglect was not what Pearl had intended. Her attentions were sorely divided between family, home and work. What she needed was some help. At dinner that night Pearl asked,
“Can anyone help me out with the garden?”
“Can’t do it today, Mom. We have the show and then there’s a big research paper due Friday.”
“I need to drive your Mom to her doctor appointment,” said Grandpa. “Let’s see about next week?”
Page 18 – Preliminary sketch
Research Paper
Page 19a – Preliminary sketch
Play Rehearsal
Page 19b – Preliminary sketch
Driving to the Doctor’s Office
Page 19c – Preliminary sketch
Everyone loved what came from the garden. Peppermint made the iced tea more refreshing, the greens were crisp, the curried squash soup was perfect with roasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on the top.
“You know, I sort of remember our folks having a garden. It was a lot of work,” Auntie said, rustling in the back cupboard for something to munch.
“I have some vacation time coming up. Interested in some help Friday?” Auntie laughed as Pearl hugged her.
Friday came. Jewel and Pearl began with harvesting corn. They filled two baskets and then husked each ear to dry the seeds for cornmeal, making sure to keep some seeds for the next year. Next were the Blue Lake green beans. Their flowers had drawn the bees all summer, and those bees went on to pollinate the whole garden. They left the squash until the first light frost to pick.
Herbs, garlic, onions, and peppers were next. Basil, parsley, and oregano, bunched for hanging
and drying. Garlic and onions dug up— the smaller heads for replanting next year. Peppers were gathered for salsas and eggs.
Page 20 – Preliminary sketch
Blue Lake Beans
Page 22a – Preliminary Sketch
Page 22b – Preliminary sketch
Pearl breathed deep. It’s a good thing to have this garden and family close, she thought. She hoped the weather would hold. Her family would need to do more for themselves during harvest time—and preserving time. As the grandparents napped in the living room Jewel headed back to her house next door.
“Great spending time with you but I need to be going.” said Jewel. Her cell phone buzzed. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning!”
Pearl made a fresh pot of coffee, sliced off some cardamom bread, and spread it with a bit of raspberry jelly and looked over the calendar. The work was good and the rewards were sweet. But the tasks were still too many.
Page 21-22 Preliminary sketch
Dinner was chili and cornbread. Folks filled their bowls twice. Nearly everything came from the

“Can any of you help this week with the harvesting? ” asked Pearl. Tasting the goodness, they took some time to answer.
“I can help after school Tuesday. I should be home by 3:30. I’ll be all yours.” Young said, as he helped himself to a baked apple with cinnamon and sugar.
“I can help Wednesday after school,” Angel added as he finished up the last of the dishes.
The grandparents had been thinking too, about their long-ago garden, now restored.
“We can help in the mornings for an hour each day.” said the Grandparents.
Pages 24 – Preliminary sketch
Baked Apple
Page 25a – Preliminary sketch
River Washing Dishes
Page 25b – Preliminary Sketch
Grandparents Chopping Vegetables
Page 25c – Preliminary sketch
Pearl headed upstairs to bed . . . earlier than usual, before the colors had come and
gone from the sky.

Pages 26-27 Preliminary sketch
Pearl would have liked to sleep late, but snow was coming. The garden would not wait. Today she would can beans and carrots. Once the big big canning kettle came to a boil the work began. Pearl set up cutting boards, sharp knives and piles of washed beans and carrots for her parents. Looking into their kind eyes she thanked them.
“We had to process our food like this when we were young,” said Grandma. “It’s how we got through the winter,” she said quietly to herself.
Auntie arrived and started roasting tomatoes. Fueled by good coffee and conversation they had canned 18 quarts of beans and 6 quarts of carrots by noon. Lunch was tomato soup and crusty bread with roasted tomatoes. Grandfatherly snores rose from the front room, while Pearl and Jewel sorted tomatoes and peppers to ripen inside. School buses roared through the neighborhood, carrying families back home.
Page 28 – Preliminary sketch
Making Pesto
Page 29a – Preliminary sketch
Page 29b – Preliminary sketch
Ripening Tomato Box
Page 29c – Preliminary sketch
That night seemed as good as any night to share the goodness from the family garden. Pearl walked over to the neighbors and invited them to join them for ratatouille and green salad with maple sugar vinaigrette.
“I’d love to join you,” said Mr. Harris. “I will bring a cake for dessert!”
“Oh thank you, I’ll bring lemonade.” said Ms. Johnson.
“I’ll be there!” said Ms. Phillips. “I’ll stop by the Bakery and pick up some baguettes. Thanks for the invitation”
Young overheard Pearl talking with the neighbors. Quickly gathering the others he said,
“I’ll set the table,” said Young.
“We’ll bring up some more chairs from the basement,” added Angel and River.
“Sounds great!” said the grandparents. “I think we will sit here at the table and hand out napkins.”
“Afterwards we’ll all clean up the kitchen,” said Angel nodding to their siblings.”
Page 30 Preliminary sketch
Mr. Harris Bringing Cake
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Ms. Johnson Bring Lemonade
Page 31b – Preliminary sketch
Ms. Phillips with Bread
Page 31c – Preliminary sketch
That night neighbors and family brought their best to the first annual harvest potluck dinner. Heading home after their meal, the neighbors discussed the garden and the wonderful time spent together.
“I think I’ll start a garden next year,” said Ms. Johnson as she balanced a container holding leftovers.
“I just love snap peas,” said Ms. Phillips. “Maybe I’ll grow some of those.”
“I wonder if I could get pumpkins to grow . . .” Mr. Harris wondered.
They returned home dreaming of the delicious meal shared and of plans for the next year’s harvest meal. A meal that everyone would help create by sharing what they could.
Page 32 – Preliminary sketch
Inside front and back cover Preliminary sketch