Harvest Time

'just picked' veggiesfresh eggsHerb Garden Aug10  We can harvest  on a farmstead all year long . After the first of the year there is still a small game hunting season where one can harvest rabbits, squirrels ,grouse .These make great table fare and it’s a great way to beat cabin fever and stay “connected” to the land . There is ice fishing for the ‘cold hardy’ where fishermen literally bring home a harvest of pan fish . There’s nothing like eating fresh harvest to beat the same old table fare day after day . Spring brings more fishing opportunities , including one of my favorites : fly fishing for trout . I actually release most of what I catch after gentle handling . There is so much to love about the art of fly fishing ,but one of the things I love best about trout fishing is that trout live in beautiful places . I have learned to pull my focus away from the ‘fishing’ now and again and look around ! I have pleased myself with my fly fishing and caught more than my fair share . I’m now in a place where one of my favorite parts of the ‘fishing’ is break time . I’ll climb up on a rock or log and eat lunch and enjoy my surroundings , my thoughts , my solitude ,the quiet ,the serenity , the sounds of the water , the sounds of the wind, the sights and sounds of every other creature that lives around me going about their business of ‘life ‘ . WHOA !!! Pull me back ! I told you I haven’t been fishing this year .Man , I miss it …..    Spring also offers the opportunity to harvest a Tom Turkey . You want exciting !? Hard to believe maybe but you can get alot of excitement, satisfaction , and great meat hunting a BIRD. I sometimes forget that it’s a bird ! I like to hunt with a bow and let me tell you …. when a lovesick tom comes in ‘full bore ‘ and blasts off a gobble at you from ten paces away , it’s enough to loosen your shoe laces , and your nerves ! I didn’t get that excited when I had a big black bear boar ten yards from my stand . For hunters like me , fall big game season feels like harvest time , as you bring in the years’ fresh meat supply . For do it your- selfers , big game hunting can be a herculean task , and I’ve always loved that part of it .The physical nature of getting ‘out there ‘ , the wit and mindset of getting it done . I have learned a Native American melody that I always sing when I am field dressing and ‘carrying out ‘. It is about harvest and it feels very personal and spiritual , and it comes to me naturally . However , having said all that , harvest REALLY begins in the vegetable garden , and this is the month where it really shines. My veg harvest has been great this year . I truly feel “wealthy ” when I’m pulling in the veggies ; the baskets filling up and spilling over with natures’  best . It is so rewarding . I have put up : beets , carrots , bush beans , pea pods , peas , summer squash , peppers , pickling cucumbers , and tomatoes . We have also enjoyed some lettuce , spinach, asparagus , and may yet make something  of the cabbage . I didn’t plant the normal range of variety this year , opting instead to put in volume for the winter . I have just purchased a cultivator for my atv . That should make the enormous task of tilling new ground as enjoyable as a Sunday ride ! Hell , I might even get my best girl to ride on the quad with me . She could sit behind me and whisper sweet nothings in my ear …. O.k.  just wanted to be sure you were still following along . So , next year , more variety at a volume that will put up all year . If all goes well , and I haven’t ‘kicked the bucket ‘, maybe the following year I could do enough to bring to market . See my face book page for updates . I may have enough to sell next year , I just don’t want to get ahead of myself .

The bush bean plants are in their third bloom and have been so generous this year , as have the summer squash . I only put in a half dozen of each . I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have put in a row of any length !   I have been picking the tomatoes before they are fully ripe as the rain this year has made them grow by leaps and split . It has worked well and they have quickly “finished’ on the counter top within a couple days . They have been firmer and more uniform that way , and NOT SPLIT . My friends have enjoyed them immensely . Deb ordered an heirloom variety of cherry tomatoe seeds this year . I don’t remember what they are called and the labels blew out of the garden , but I have extra still in the package and have saved several hundred seeds and dried them . The flavor and , particularly , the sweetness , were UNBELIEVABLE !!! I brought some into work and my friends were amazed . I said , “enjoy them this year and remember how good they are , because next year they will be four dollars a pound ! ha-ha

Harvest comes with very special feelings . It never gets old to me . Sure some days it just feels like the chore of bringing in food ; usually when I’m over worked ,overly tired , overly busy , overly hot , or being overly bothered by the bugs , but even then , there’s a great satisfaction when I have the veg washed and sitting on the counter to dry ; sitting out on display , reminding me what I and mother nature have done together . There is an instant recognition of the significance of the whole process , and it never gets old .

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