Monday, September 19, 2011
Monday Musings: Agricultural Angst
I think I can say this summer's garden has been the most work, the most productive and the most perplexing yet. I'm not a farmer and don't claim to be. I'm learning as I go mostly and I have tried to have low expectations so as not to be disappointed.
We've had more squash than anything. Now it's crookneck squash. We've given a good deal away and it keeps coming. We've had a variety of sizes of cucumbers. We've still got corn in the fridge we need to eat. The pumpkins aren't as plentiful this year but I made sure I didn't plant so much this year. We should have just enough to carve for Halloween and maybe one or two pies. I think that's enough.
For the first time in my life, I've started doing home canning. Whoa. That's a part time job almost with all the stuff our garden is producing.
So far we've done...
3 pints of radish relish
8 pints of zucchini pickles
3 1/2 pints of zucchini relish
8 pints dill relish
5 quarts of corn
8 quarts of apricots (our neighbor had too many apricots and gave us some)
8 pints sweet pickle relish
6 pints cucumber relish
Now all I need is somebody to throw a huge hotdog roast and I've got enough relish for an army and then some. In fact there's another batch of relish that I have to do today or tomorrow.
I'm amazed that we've been blessed with so much despite my lack of serious weeding and sometimes gross inattention to the plants. I'm trying not to waste anything. If I can't get it "put up", I'm trying to give the excess to neighbors who haven't done a garden this year. Some cukes have overripened and I've felt guilty putting them in the compost.
It's given me a whole new perspective on the Lord's "by the sweat of thy face, thou shalt eat thy bread" comment to Adam and Eve. It's seems a more heavy responsibility to provide for one's family when you're growing your own food, than just going to the grocery store. Of course we haven't grown enough to totally support ourselves, but the idea that people have to do that in some places in the world is truly daunting. One insect attack, one mold disease, one dry season, and your food stores are severely depleted or decimated altogether.
I'm grateful for the harvest the Lord has given us this year - and the education that has come with it. I have much, much more to learn.
What "harvest" are you grateful for?