What Harvest Means to Me


A Sell Family PortraitAs usual, I am beginning this blog with a heartfelt apology for not writing sooner. It’s been another month and so much has been going on that it’s hard for me to have the energy and/or time to sit down and put into words all that I’m observing and feeling.

You see, I always have a “blog on my heart” about something or someone here on the farm, but so easily time slips away and there are too many things to take the place of a good, honest blogging session. This time, it’s been the Harvest Season. It has earned capital letters and truth be told, could probably be put into all caps, but writing like that is a pet peeve of Andy’s, so I held back.

Harvest Season. Never in my life have I understood the seasons like I have this year. Living by the seasons and working with nature and God’s design for animals, food and life has never been so real. We began the warm weather (mid-April in Wisconsin) with high hopes and zeal for a bunch of new projects and enterprises. By the time we hit Independence Day, we were in a low spot. Struggles with getting the dairy up and running, getting all the seeds and plants planted, building fences, chasing sheep, new calves, new milk cows, bringing in hay, family stresses and long, long daylight hours combined to bring our spirits low and our zeal down to a minimum. You may recall the “One Step Forward” post that I made on our farm blog.  I concluded that post with a hopeful and positive note that all we were doing was totally worth it in the end. At the time I wrote it, I only half believed my own words.

But August brought a certified dairy, the first bountiful fruits from our garden and the promise of the end of summer. I know that sounds negative, but when you awaken every single day knowing that there are at least 16 hours full of work ahead of you and there’s no weekend to “get to,” those first cold days of September are something of legend.

As we rounded out August and flew into September, I suddenly realized that my summer had, indeed, ended. Now, the days were still warm and balmy, but it struck me one day as I traversed our back garden: the mid-day sun was hitting me at an extreme angle and my shadow extended noticeably to the north. I glanced up and saw that our Sugar Maple had nearly emptied itself of those magnificent red leaves while the Elms were hinting at gold. The lush grasses were a dull shade of green and all around me were tans, golds and browns. The tomatoes were in full swing and so were the peppers, cauliflower, snap beans and herbs. Our apple trees had begun dropping loads of fruit and even our Miracle Pear tree (it’s a wonderful story, please ask us about it) had a few green fruits to be proud of. I was struck with surprise and a tinge of sadness to see it gone so soon. Yet ...

... We had entered Harvest Season. Harvest Season is like a separate part of the end of summer and beginning of autumn. It transcends calendar dates and simply crashes into the shoreline, one crop after another, until a few sparkling frosty mornings call the tide to a halt.

11/19/2009 4:38:42 PM

What a wonderful blog. It was certainly an emotional read. You are truly blessed, not with just your wonderful bounty, but with beautiful children too.

Becky and Andy
10/19/2009 1:43:41 PM

Thank you Shannon. Would you believe that reading this back to my husband got me all choked up too? Who'da thunk, preserving food could be so good for one's soul? :-)

S.M.R. Saia
10/19/2009 8:02:30 AM

Wow, what a beautiful and inspiring post! I feel teary-eyed now...

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