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August bounty

August 9, 2009

Well, yes, I started the weekend a little cranky. I freely admit it. I don’t remember why but I do recall that I was cranky all the way through Friday night and into Saturday morning. So I went out to the garden in an attempt to keep my pique to myself (as it wasn’t spreading peace and joy throughout the land). And would you know…there I discovered onions? Walla Walla sweet onions, huge and round? It happened while I forgot to pay attention, and all of a sudden, they’re ready for picking.

So I found an attitude adjustment in the midst of the onions. A whole garden cart full of onions, which represents only about a quarter of the eventual harvest. Just about nothing could have made me happier. Except that there were beets ready too. While they could have stayed there a bit longer to fatten even further, they were sort of victim to the beans.

The beans that are taking over the world out there, close cousin to Jack’s variety. They’ve overtopped the original trellis, a wimpy four-feet tall. And they’ve since overtopped the second trellis I rigged up over the original one, another foot and a half higher. I underestimated their vigor. I mean, really, look at them above… what has the right to be so youthfully vital and vigorous in August? These things are still growing! I could build a third trellis on top of the other two and it would overwhelm that one in a couple of days. Amazing. So anyway, they were crowding the beets and I’ve been wanting to make pickled beets, so I yanked out all the blood-red roots and laid them in the grass for washing with the hose.

And so, it turned into a harvest weekend, rather unexpectedly. The summer that’s been slow to yield finally produced. We even plucked the first full-sized ripe tomato, a sincere accomplishment in a year full of Late Blight and decimated tomato patches all over Vermont. Two eggplant and some more of the seemingly endless chard and kale plus some bonus potatoes growing out of the compost pile rounded out the take.

Perhaps it is obvious and everyone would feel this way, but reaping the bounty from all our hours in the garden gives me a measure of joy that’s hard to compare to anything else and that doesn’t diminish from year to year. Every time, it is a miracle when the damn bean plants once again over top whatever trellis I’ve built. Tying the onions into bunches to hang to cure in the garage, braiding the garlic to dry along with the onions, pickling beets in the late afternoon, and hubby coming in the back door with two fists full of potatoes gleaned from volunteer plants in the compost pile, these things all bring me immense pleasure. So, yes, I was cranky, but now, my hands are stained red from the beets (and from a minor mishap with the knife and slippery beets) and my pique has faded. I so love this garden.

(top photo credit to hubby, ralph)

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