Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harvest







Beneath the outspread arms of our two maple trees we packed this week's CSA shares. The combination of the sweet breeze, palming fat potatoes smelling of good clean dirt, and the new litter of kittens nearby pawing at the air and crawling about made for contented work.





Savoy cabbage is, in my humble opinion, one of the most handsome vegetables to grow from God's green earth...we nestled reams of tomatoes amongst their crinkly leaves, building little nests for September's bounty of red orbs...destined for tomato pies and sandwiches we hope.


Every week harvest and packing day seems to inspire new heights of imagination in our girls...our work topping and bagging up yellow storage onions was halted for Reasons of Security and Urgent Matters of Exploration, as the girls convinced us that we must accompany them to the edge of our fenceline and investigate the probable troll (and his cave) beneath the gargantuan branches of an old Pine in the neighbor's yard. E. Nesbit has remarked in her book "Wings and the Child" that children's play is practice at adult work...as I listened to Una's narrative about the baby troll whose hand she held, and whose breath smelled like doopy...and as I watched her brandish a small (but obviously important) stick as she related how she singlehandedly vanquished a large evil troll as well as a fire-breathing dragon in one battle, I was struck with how the inspiration for her tale seemed to be the mountain of potatoes we were demolishing as we piled them into crates for storage, and the 50 pound sack of onions that we had heaved up onto the table and began to top and bag to pack in the shares...


Certainly every week's harvest is a monumental task...a hill made steeper as we near the end of our 18 week growing season, and tired limbs seek fireside chairs and couches, comforters, and mugs of hot apple cider. I find myself often referring the passing weeks as years. "Oh yes! Last year's share was quite nice..." or "Last year we harvested the Yukon golds..." so much occurs on the farm in a mere 7 days it is hard to tell what century we are in sometimes, let alone which week or month...


There is a timelessness to this work, which is why I find that usually after a month's break in Winter time, I crave it again. To lose oneself in a row of tomatoes, picking at little red and golden balls of fruit and kerplunking them into a bucket...with nothing but the sound of the bumblebee or the started grasshopper to serenade you...this is the stuff of ageless & timeless task...the reward of this work is the simple fact that the time is spent without malice, without distraction...with simple centeredness in the moment, the reaching for this cherry tomato, and that brandywine. The digging of this potato...and then that one....the pawing at the earth for yet one more. These days spread before us with a strange kind of leisure...though we are well aware of the shortening of the daylight and the cool temperatures creeping in...it is as if we and the earth have made a smiling pact. We shall both enjoy the last moments of the growing season with contented delight. With the kind of uninterrupted unharried peace that comes with being satisfied with where you are, and what you are doing...mindful that it is coming to a steady end.


And each week...as our field exausts itself with harvest after harvest...as it sits spent in weeds and seedpods and fewer and fewer rows of crops...I am amazed at the continual bounty, I am knee-deep in gratitude for yet another week's share of fodder for feasting.

2 comments:

  1. I love to gander upon photos of your bounty. 2012 will be the beginning of our adventure into small scale farming.

    You beautiful harvest has made me ponder the following questions:

    What method of farming do you use?
    Row crop?
    Lasagna Gardening?
    Permaculture?
    Do you keep bees?

    How many years did it take to get these yields?
    How many acres do you plant?

    Ok that is it for now but I will be back with more questions. There is much to learn and it is obvious you have much you can teach.

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  2. Hi Heidi! I just now noticed this comment! Email me when you get the chance! Congrats on the start of your agricultural adventure!!

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