Nothing brings pleasure than seeing the fruits of your labor. All your hard work and dedication… the goal you’ve been reaching for has been achieved. Such an awesome feeling…. that of accomplishment. Ahh… like opening an ice-cold bottle of beer… er, iced tea, after a hard days work.
A few weeks ago we celebrated just that at our homestead. It was early evening, after dinner, and the kids were about ready to clean up. My husband looks out the window and saw a mama fox (belly full of babies) in our yard. We’ve known for a while now that we have critters that roam our land. Every morning I’m awakened by the cackle of a male pheasant. A few weeks ago I spotted a turkey cruise around. Even the ‘squatter’ woodchuck has taken refuge in our freshly delivered wood pile yet to be stacked. Yes, the fox is a predator, and can certainly cause more harm than good around our small, country home. But the sight of her just reinforced the purpose of our work… to create an environment that we can grow our own food, maintain the land, and bring nature back home.
I’ll be honest, our garden has struggled a bit. We are extremely lucky to not be part of the drought that affected so many farmers this season. In my neck of the woods we received heavy doses of rain in a short period of time, along with prolonged humidity. I’m not sure if that affected our overall harvest, or if it’s the fact that we choose not to use any pesticides (thus making our garden all the more desirable to those pesky pests). Or if it’s because my husband was gone most of the summer and taking on the garden, kids, work, and other chores became too much for me. Regardless, overall, our garden still produced more than enough veggies for us to enjoy.
Next summer I hope to be able to spend more time at home (if my goals are achieved), allowing me to really concentrate on the garden, and maximize its full potential. Last summer I spent a lot of time in the garden, and enjoyed just sitting among my veggies taking in all the colors. This year I did not do that, and I missed that tremendously.
This summer my husband and I discovered kale. Of course, I knew of kale, but I never really KNEW of kale. I even had three huge bunches growing in our garden. I just wasn’t sure what to do with it all. That was until I went out on a lunch date with said husband (which is extremely rare – like lightning hitting you rare) to Olive Garden and devoured their Zuppa Toscana soup. It’s basically spicy sausage, potatoes, and kale in a creamy broth. My oh my was it yummy! It has led to me saute it a dozen different ways, even making some kale chips.
As the season comes to an end I’m still hopeful we’ll continue to reap the benefits of our garden. Cool weather is upon us and it’s time to think of those cool weather veggies… cabbage, spinach, lettuce, radishes, onions, beets, carrots… and more kale. Tis’ the season!