Seasons Changing, Seeds for the Future

My friend N recently mentioned that she likes having two new years, because she’s still in school and gets a new school year and a regular new year. My job operates on the school year calendar, and so I get that too. Strangely enough, the weather has gotten the first whispers of cool in it the past couple of days, and school begins tomorrow. The tomatoes are still coming in strong, though less strong than last week, and two more squash are still on the vines, but five have already come in. We’re past peak summer, we’re into ebbs and drips of remaining heat.

I’m excited to pull out the tomato vines when they stop yielding and I hope to put in a few more spinach plants to make salads for us till first frost. I’m excited to save the squash seeds I’m painstakingly rinsing and use them in the spring to create another lush bed of vines that will, eventually, be pulled out so that Husband can actually mow the yard again. I’m excited to drop a few more carrot seeds into the ground and just see if maybe, some of them will grow.

But I’m also pretty happy, today, with where I am. I haven’t been good at that, most of my life, but gardening, especially what I would call a bounteous harvest season, has taught me that all the steps seem to be joy-full. I don’t need to be looking to fall crops to be happy, or looking to winter to construction of a window box for herbs, or to spring for new sprouts. Now is good enough – soup on the stove is good enough, the heavy smell of curry and squash mingling. The hum of bugs outside, and the knowledge that tomorrow will be a very busy day, are all enough. I’ll enjoy these first gulps of fall weather and not hurry myself to whatever comes next.

Fresh fruits and veggies taste better by the lake

We didn’t have plans, for once, on a Sunday. I figured we’d do what we always do – some puttering around the house, some cooking, some home repair and lawn maintenance. But it was perfect outside: breezy and sunny after a week and a half of nearly constant rain.

We knew there was a state park less than an hour away that we have been meaning to visit for a camping trip, and I figured we’d be more likely to get there and actually budget time for a trip if we saw how nice it was on a day like today. So we threw whatever food seemed reasonable at the time into the car, along with swim gear and headed down to the park.

We swam for what must have only been an hour but which felt like so much more; the bottom of the lake was delightfully sandy and no creatures touched my legs, which made me quite happy. We dried off in the sun and turned to snacks, and realized we’d only brought two apples, two purple peppers, and a whole, enormous cantaloupe. Well, also some bratwurst to cook on a mini grill, but those took a little time.

Sometimes I think that the reason kids don’t grow up learning to love fruits and veggies is because they eat them indoors; if you sit down at a picnic shelter and hack a cantaloupe in half, then spend the afternoon digging bits of it out with a spoon and drinking the accumulated juice straight out of the cantaloupe bowl… you just can’t help but love it. The purple peppers had been an impulse purchase at the farmer’s market, and they were a bit more bitter than most bell peppers, but they were a nice contrast to the cantaloupe. Slices of crisp granny smith apples added another texture, a tart flavor.

I’m facing down a real doozy of a week, and we came home to more work and a few chores that still need doing, but today, like that wide cantaloupe half, was very sweet indeed. Though eating the bratwurst was far more filling, the fruits and veggies eaten in the late summer sun were the highlight of my day.