I admit, I have spent a little too much time lately thinking about what our garden(s) has NOT done for us this year. There have been moments of frustration, bugs galore, long, hot days, and rotten fruit.
Despite it all we have managed to get a great start on our fall/winter preserves. To date we have put away 45 lbs. of yellow onions, 8 quarts of strawberries, 4 gallons of peaches, 3 gallons of blueberries, 3 gallons of blackberries, 37 heads of lettuce (both european and buttercrunch combined), 13 quarts of bell pepper, 8 quarts of crookneck squash, 2 quarts of zuchini, 5 quarts of green beans, 11 quarts of zipper peas, 2 quarts of butter beans, 10 gallons of sweet corn (purchased from a local farmer), countless fresh herbs which we dried, ground, and put in the cupboard, 7 quarts of dill pickles, and 6 quarts of stewed tomatoes. We have also made 14 quarts of apple butter, 7 quarts of strawberry freezer jam, 1 quart of pesto, 8 quarts of blueberry jam, and 4 gallons of okra ready for frying.
WOW! Just seeing it in writing has gotten me excited. We have already exceeded last years bounty and it is only mid-July. We still have a solid month of beans, peas, potatoes, okra, etc. And that isn’t to mention the fall crops.
We also started a flock of “meat chickens” about 13 weeks ago so they are about ready to process for meat and stock which will go nicely beside our side of grass-fed beef and our portions of locally harvested pork.
None of this comes easy though. We have worked hard; both before planting and during the harvest. Not to mention the hours of peeling, chopping, stirring, and processing. It isn’t easy at all but it sure is rewarding.
My one hope though is that everyone who reads this post is experiencing their own wonderful bounty – be it one tomato plant or 500 acres of soybean.
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
– Ralph Waldo Emerson