This morning, while watering the garden before bathing for church, I didn’t want to leave. The air was cool, and smelled of damp earth. I walked around languidly examining the bright rows. I love this time of year. Everything is making its crop. We are eating salads and snacking right out of hand—snap peas, cherry tomatoes, raspberries, even baby potatoes with salt.
Now the kitchen is even busier than the garden. I can’t keep up with the exploding abundance. I make pickles and jam, herb and fruit vinegars, and pesto.
I dry and freeze and can and bundle and gather.
Dinners are simple, and incorporate whatever is being preserved at the time or needs picking. On jam-making night, we eat pancakes topped with the tail-ends of jam batches. Another night, I use some of my raspberry vinegar with almond oil to dress a salad to serve with baked chicken breast.
Or, I may serve wilted greens with bacon and cornbread, or stir linguica (Portuguese sausage) with red kidney beans and kale into a skillet.
Tonight I made a cottage-style cobbler with a crumb topping using blackberries left over from jam making. We will have that for breakfast tomorrow. Nothing must go to waste if it can be helped.
Even the animals are enjoying the field’s bounty. Many mornings, I pull a wheelbarrow full of weeds for the chickens. They love the lamb’s quarters, shepherd’s purse, chickweed and dock that, because of their high nutrient content, boost their immune systems for the coming winter months.
Soon we will set potatoes, squash and onions to cure for winter storage.
As autumn comes on, up here in the north, we feel a little sad that we soon will put the gardens to bed, but, still, there is a slight thrill of anticipation born of the knowledge that our pantries are full, and we have done what could be done. We anticipate the coming leisure for reading, writing and family with gratitude. Like the garden, we will be settling down for our winter rest.by