Summer, it's all about the GARDEN
Friday, July 08, 2016
Wow, the vegetable garden has, once again, taken over my life. Every spring, I can hardly wait for DH to prepare the plots, go to the store and select the seeds and then plants, and then the greatest fun, planting. After the planting, I go every day and look to see if anything has emerged and what joy to see the first little signs of life. As the plants grow, there is of course the thinning (a job I just cannot bring myself to do) and weeding and watering. When the first blooms appear on the plants I nearly jump up and down, it is so awesome to me to watch the process. Then thrill of thrills, I peek into a plant and see a tiny fruit...miracle! Of course, I must wait and wait for the fruit to mature and then it does and harvest time begins.
We have been in harvest mode for about 6 weeks now, and as predicted, I have started to become weary. Every morning by 8am and usually earlier, I head out, dressed in my worn out garden gear and rubber boots, complete with hat, bandana and gloves, pick up two 5 gallon buckets and begin. We are now harvesting onions, potatoes, yellow squash, zuchinni, green beans, yellow wax beans, carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, hot peppers, beets, eggplant, okra and lettuce and herbs. Still to come is corn and lima beans and butternut squash tomatoes and parsnips.
Once we get home with the harvest, I must immediately get in preservation mode. We grow WAY too much for the two of us. So we share with my mom, my daughter, my son, three neighbors, the woman who kept my children when I worked and various others. After washing, drying and sorting the veggies by various criteria, I have to bag it for give away, keep to cook, keep to preserve or to go to market. My poor refrigerator is literally bursting.
DH does the deliveries while I remain to can or freeze or cook, or sometimes curse, what remains. I feel at times that my life is run by food. For three or four months of the year I am either cooking, eating, cleaning up after, planting, picking, preserving or in some way dealing with food. It is so overwhelming at times and it is so easy to give up and just eat my way through the summer. At least two weeks each summer I have grandkids for a nice visit. Throw that responsibility in along with garden duties, I really feel the urge to give in.
But not this year. This year I made a deal with myself to make me as important as the gardening, the resulting produce, keeping the grandkids or anything else. I decided to continue to enjoy rather than dread, the entire cycle of gardening, even when I think I may just scream if I see one more squash. I am not going to eat until I can't move just because we have such bounty. I deserve some ME time and I am taking it.
The garden is such a blessing and we are so fortunate to be able, physically, to still do it. The food we grow provides for us as well as many others, who depend on receiving fresh food each summer, who cannot do the labor required to grow their own. It is a blessing to watch the miracle of growing plants and the food they provide. With a little advance planning and a determination to not let the labor sidetrack me, this year, the garden is my ally. I am getting all the exercise I need, fresh tasty food and plenty to share with friends and family. No longer am I burdened with trying too make sure not one string bean gets by me. I am doing my best and enjoying the trip. Most of the produce goes to a good cause and if some gets too big, hey, that's compost baby, give back to the earth, get ready for next year.
So, all you gardeners out there...I wish you rain when you need it, sunshine on your plants, a cool breeze for your harvesting times and most of all joy in your labors.