8.31.2012

in a blue moon

It's hard to find a photo of the garden that can give her justice. She has, in the short three months of summer, become an unwieldy creature of her own creation. I wrote earlier in april of how terrifyingly intimidated I was of the garden and all she stood for.  I'm still intimidated. Just this past Wednesday Fiona found me crawling between the hedge of edamame and a row of strawberry popcorn, in ugly tears, tearing up the weeds that my vacation had allowed to come up.

I am overwhelmed by this beast but I am also in awe. She has not been blessed with a gardener that loves her or respects her. She was instead laden with one slithering, fearful wretch that ignored, sabotaged, and abused her. For the entire month of July I neither watered, weeded, nor fought off the pests that plagued her leaves and fruit. I would only creep into her paths at dusk stealing a cabbage or a handful of radishes and scurrying away before the guilt of the garden caught me.

I had managed, by some grace of God (and the healthy, friendly interference from neighbors and friends) to plant the garden after our last frost at the end of May. Rachael had come by with tomatoes. Sarah had given me kale and chard. Billy, Toby, Aunt Molly, Nick, and I seeded cucumbers, corn, beans, beets, radishes, potatoes, winter squash, carrots, lettuce, sunflowers, and edamame. After each planting I would squish up my face, shrug my shoulders, and turn by back to her thinking Well, this will never work.  

I had assumed, as the unfailing narcissist that I am, that the success of the garden would depend solely on my intervention. This I have discovered to be untrue. With the exception of my Planting of the Seeds the soil below and the skies above were all she needed. There was a week in June where I manned a vicious attack on weeds. I labored in her paths all day, every day for nearly a week until the rows were only straw and the beds were the green beginnings of plants and the dark cultivated soil around them. There were a couple spurts of concerted effort to destroy the cucumber beetles and the Japanese beetles. Both efforts (done by hand) felt chivalrous at first and then useless by the week's end.

I tried to be a better gardener. As the summer wore on I felt increasingly guilty about the way I had treated her. This would result in the aforementioned bouts of love and attention towards the garden. I found myself buoyed by the bounty she began to put forth. Proclamations of pride and plans for next year's garden have been loudly and boldly made. Two of my neighbors (unaware of my contemptible behavior) even complimented me on the "Beautiful!" vegetables.

This is all to say that the garden has humbled me with her resilience. I am emotionally wrought from the highs and lows I have had with her this summer. Albeit unwarranted, I am proud of her. I am emboldened by this season and feel a bit more prepared for the next.

Now we are in the thick of the harvest. Today is the last day of August.  A full blue moon tonight will carry us into September.  The cupboards are filling steadily with canned tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and berries. We will spend the next month before the first frost making sure all of the hard work by the garden was not in vain. In the upcoming weeks I will be sharing some of our new favorite recipes for canning, drying, and lacto-fermenting to ensure the garden's summer ends with the dignity and respect she deserves.

An aside:  I have in the last week taken an interest in the traditional uses of capitalization and punctuation. Please, bare with me, as I am rather new to such formalities but am an eager, vicious, learner. 

10 comments:

  1. I love your writing and your blog; along with a good cup of coffee, it's such a good way to start the day.

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  2. Your garden looks great! Mine is neglected beyond measure. I love reading your posts - it's almost like being in the middle of the green myself, instead of being stuck in an office staring at a computer (and occasionally the plants thriving in the window). Thank you for sharing your world!
    Stephanie

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  3. Gosh this all reads so true for me.

    I am the same as you, I sally forth with seeds and plans, finely till the soil and get it all looking good and then get distracted by the million and one othr jobs that chickens and animals bring you to do.

    Yet somehow in my absennces it blossoms and bring forth lots of goodies. We eat from the garden and we fill our cupboards and freezers with its bounty, mine is an 'it' not a 'she', I don't know why, but it has no real personality for me this temporary abode for my vegetables.

    Our next move should be the last one and then I can fall in love with a piece of land that will be all mine.

    Sue xx

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  4. I immediately noticed your punctuation and capitalization. :)

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  5. I started to grow my own vegetables this spring and I know what you mean..

    Have a lovely weekend!

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  6. Oh wow..the view in this photograph is incredible. I really need to up and run out of this horrible city and find some countryside

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  7. Your honesty made me laugh. Glad I'm not the only neglectful gardener out there! Sadly my porch garden doesn't look quite as grand as that she-beast outside your window...

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  8. Has the drought adversely impacted your garden? It doesn't look so - it's just gorgeous, totally reflecting all that adoration and those tears.

    I grew up on a farm. I now live in a city. Your blog makes me homesick. <3

    I used to can and pickle up a storm. The freezer was always filled with jam and the fridge was lined with jars of pasta sauce and pesto. I tried to keep the tradition alive in Chicago, but one day of making peach preserves in my unconditioned apartment on the fourth floor was almost the death of me. I've yet to find the fortitude to make another go.

    xo,
    Hadley

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