03 September 2012

Well, readers. Without divulging too much information, let me just say that I learned that no one is perfect. Life is not perfect. And my garden is certainly not perfect. I just finished weed-wacking in there. I still have tomatoes and okra going, but the cukes are done for the summer. I hope to find the determination to put down some peas, carrots, beets, and green beans later this week.
I have been saving my seeds. I didn't think this was very important earlier in the season. However, I reread a chapter on this subject in The Barefoot Farmer, and it made much more sense. “Because plants are rooted to the ground and can't leave when conditions are unfavorable, they compensate by giving their offspring more strength to deal with a particular environment.” Survival of the fittest and all that.
As it turns out, I'm a terrible gardener. I never watered. Weeding was a short-lived activity. I never added compost. Heck, my composter is still in construction. In short, my plants had to go through hell to be productive, and for whatever reason they made it. A modest estimate of my cucumber total is 40 pounds, and that is not including all the ones that I tossed. Okra has been about 30 individual pods; I've gotten 4 good tomatoes thus far. Even though those were much less productive, the ones that made it were tough little suckers! Those seeds will do even better next year, even if I fail miserably again. I have also been saving seeds from our CSA shares.
The CSA has been a challenge this year. I think my previous experience spoiled me. Realistically, Delta Sun is right on target. They are a new small farm, which means bumps are more drastic, and we had a terrible drought this year. They always greet me with a smile, and those pigs are fattening up nice. I made some delicious baba ghanoush with their huge eggplant and spicy garlic. I hope they keep going and have a better round in the fall. It's easy to forget that joining a CSA is much like becoming an investor. It could pay off big time, or flop. If there's anything that needs our endorsement, it's small farmers, and I'm all too happy to lend a hand. PLEASE check out localharvest.org to find local farmers in your area. We're coming up on apple season, and pick-your-owns are listed as well.
My canner is properly broken in now. A few weeks back, my friend hosted a canning party, and the bug has stuck with me. Plus, I had to do something with all those cucumbers! I now have a respectable shelf full of homemade canned goods. The current selection: chicken soup, vegetable, chicken, and beef broths, pintos, various pickles, green beans, jellies (grape,lavender, and honey), and jams (cherry, blueberry, and strawberry). I'll have to do a whole post on canning, because it really deserves one. The biggest worry is that it's complicated. If you can boil water, then you can can. It has definitely paid of over and over again. We're able to stock up for less, take advantage of produce at its peak, and control what exactly goes into our food.
We bought a reel mower. The old timey kind that grandpas in their speedos and black socks use. True story. I love that thing. It never has a problem and is the most reliable mower I have ever used. It is noisy, but I usually listen to a podcast or music anyways.
With my heart yearning for fall, I am feeling the need to knit. I have only been successful with scarves so far. If you knit one rather wide, you can loop it around and either knit the seam together or use buttons to make a poncho. My daughter recently discovered that it can pulled down to an asymmetrical skirt as well. So creative.
On a personal note, reflect honor in everything you do. Whether it's cutting the grass or washing dishes or raising kids or snuggling up to your sweetheart. Nothing is trivial. I have been reminded that we reap what we sow. If you do things, even “mundane” things, with a happy and thankful heart, you can only be better for it. I find peace in my pantry. I know it sounds silly, but it's true. I feel secure knowing we have food in the house, that my babies are warm in their beds, that our home is safe, and that love lives there. It's easy to get distracted from your heart.

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