These are gardening glory days. We have been picking lettuce for a few weeks now at our farm and this week harvested our first row of peas. Meanwhile, our black raspberry bushes are yielding big, beautiful berries, which are wonderful whether eaten fresh, in desserts or made into jams. Our strawberries took a short break from production, but again are blossoming, so soon there will be another crop of those to pick. In another week or two , there’ ll be beans and beets ready.
It’s a little overwhelming trying to keep up with the garden’s prolific production, but it’s a good problem to have. What we can’t use, we give away. It’s fun to share the bounty with friends and family who don’t have the time or space for a garden.
Besides being a healthy addition to our family meals, our garden is a great way to teach our children that the food that comes from the earth looks — and tastes — much different than the stuff that comes from the store. My sons and daugher know that the best way to eat peas, for example, is to shell a few and pop them into their mouths while they’re picking. It’s the same way with carrots. The “baby” carrots that come pre-cut in plastic bags don’t compare with the ones they pull from the garden, rub on their pant legs to remove the dirt, and bite into. And there’s nothing like a sun-kissed raspberry fresh from the bush
As always, I’m thankful for God’s goodness, this time in the form of nature’s bounty.
With the saying "Make hay while the sun shines" at the forefront of our minds, my family and I are planning to get a lot of outside work completed this weekend. Mowing, weeding and planting flowers are on the list, if the weather permits.
Last night we finished planting the vegetable and fruits. I didn’t realize how overzealous I was when I phoned in my catalog order until I saw the four packages of muskmellon and three packages of watermelon seeds in the stack. We planted them all, along with a lot of other fruits and vegies. If everything produces we’ll have plenty of extra produce to give away to family, friends, co-workers and still have some left over for the deer and rabbits who sneak in during the night for a snack.
Besides getting a lot of outdoor work done, we also plan to honor our deceased family mmebers by putting flowers on their graves this Memorial Day weekend. We will remember my dad, a World War II veteran, my brother, two sets of grandparents and two sets of great-grandparents.
It was a family traditon to go to the cemetery on Memorial Day weekend when I was growing up and I want to pass it on to my sons and daughter. I think that going to the cemetery and seeing their relatives’ graves and hearing stories about them connects them to their past.
The forecasters were right on with their warnings of an overnight frost. I forgot to look at the thermometer before I left the house this morning and it was too dark to see if the lawns were frosty, but I heard on the radio on the way to work the temperature dropped tp 30 degrees in Grand Forks. I assume our thermometer registered about the same.
I hate to have summer end, but we were blessed with a beautiful September, so I can’t complain. I knew that the tomatoes and peppers would be goners if the forecast was accurate, so last evening I picked tomatoes, peppers and beets. The beets were sticking out of the ground and I thought they may be vulernatble to getting nipped by the frost and they wouldn’t be growing much more, anyway.
While I was picking the tomatoes, Maggie, our vegie-eating yellow Lab ran by with a cucumber in her mouth. She looked at me guiltily out of the corner of her eye as she laid down to eat it. She needn’t have worried about me taking the ccumber away from her. The cukes have passed their peak season and don’t taste nearly as good as they did earlier. She can have as many cucumber she wants.
The watermelon and muskmelon are another story, though. They’re so sweet eating one is similar to taking a bite of candy. I wasn’t pleased when I was carrying the tomatoes, beets and peppers to the house and saw that Minnie, our yellow Lab cross, was finishing up a muskmelon. She doesn’t care about eating garden vegetables, but is crazy about fruit. There wasn’t enough left of the melon to salvage so I let her finish it. Tonight maybe I can find one for us to eat — if I get to the garden first.
The recent rains have sent our garden into overdrive. Last evening my husband, Brian, went out to see if there was a cucumber or two ready and came back with three-quarters of a bag full of perfect sized ones. We planted only four hills this year, so that’s pretty good production. Brian also picked several Roma tomatoes and said that the other varieties we planted also are ripening. We’ll have to dig out our salsa recipe.
Brian said the pumpkins, squash, watermelon and muskmelons also have really taken off since I visited the late last week. If we have a few warm days this month, we should get to enjoy some fresh fruits by Labor Day and eat buttercup squash this fall and winter.
I plan to set time aside this evening for a little garden stroll (well, really a trudge through the mud) of my own.
One of my co-workers asked me yesterday if my husband, Brian, and I planned to go out to dinner after we got home from work. She knew that our three children were at camp so we had some free time on our hands in the evening. I told her "no," that instead of dinner we probably would work on some outdoor chores.
That’s exactly what we did. I mowed lawns with the riding lawnmower and Brian mowed weeds with our rotary mower that is pullled behind the tractor. When we finished our respective mowing jobs we went to check out the garden and found that there were a lot of vegies and raspberries that needed to be picking. I spent the next hour filling two plastic grocery bags with beans, zucchini and beets while Brian picked bowlfuls of raspberries.
By the time we finished it was about 8 p.m. so we headed indoors to eat supper. Before I sat down to eat, though, I wanted to start cooking the beans and beets so I could make refrigerator pickles with them and spent the next half hour taking the ends off of the beans and washing the beets. At 8:30 p.m. I finally sat down to eat a sandwich. By the time we finished with supper and straightened up the kitchen, the beans and beets were done cooking so I made a vinegar/sugar mixture to pour over them and cleaned up the kitchen again.
It was 10 p.m. by then, so I headed to bed, knowing that my 5:30 a.m. wake-up call from Rosebud, our daughter Ellen’s golden retriever, would come all too soon. Before I fell asleep, though, I was thinking about how much our evening resembled our pre-children days when we would get home from our day jobs and spend all evening working on inside and outside projects without any interruptions.
My reflection didn’t make me long for the "good old days," though. Raising our three children is the best project we’ll undertake and anything else suffers by comparison.