Late summer is defined by rampant growth. Everything is moving into the blousey, expansive, desperate mode of the approaching end of the growing season. The weeds seem to have grown several feet and put on seeds overnight. The tomatoes are sprawling out of their cages and leaving red fruits strewn everywhere. The cardinal vine is clutching everything within its reach and the dogs return from our walks covered in small burs. It’s a time when everyone wants to acquire all the resources available and ensure survival or at least the survival of its species.
I’m tired. There is so much produce to preserve by blanching and freezing, or canning, or drying; but I must still water, and keep on top of weeds, as well as plant fall and winter crops, solarize harvested areas and put in cover crops. My house is dirty and disorderly, there is no where to put the produce we store in a cold room yet: no dry cold room. And there are odd other jobs that need to be done. Even without covid virus we haven’t much time to go anywhere else. I was in pure survival mode for a few weeks, putting one foot ahead of another, not thinking, not choosing anything, just in the flow of taking care of all that needed care and losing nothing to negligence, falling into bed at night exhausted and starting again next morning.
I’m grateful for a morning pattern in the summer that consists of some quiet time before chores, then a little work in the cool of the day before breakfast and tea midmorning. Then our household reads prayers and poetry together and sometimes a Gospel of Thomas Logion. The household now consists of John and I, Ben who works for us and has his own commodities to market, and Cathy, a friend who needed a place to be for a few months. In summer we tend to work while there is evening light, which on DST means 9:30 or later, so some time in the morning is good. The intensity is only for a few weeks and then my work lightens up and moves into the slower quiet days of winter. I like the pattern over all. Just wish sometimes there were more hours in the day.
This evening we had our first afternoon farm yoga session. Ben is bartering cello lessons for yoga instruction and we met with his student Sheila on our mats in a flat place under the trees, somewhat away from highway noise. It was very nice. The routine was chosen for balancing muscles, calming down, and easing backs and hands particularly. I got into quite a nice place of looseness and presence just lying under the clouds that scudded across a blue sky fringed with waving treetops.
The garden was pretty satisfyingly productive. I grew literally hundreds of brassicas, more tomatoes than we can use or can, lots of big onions, garlic and shallots: nearly enough to take us through spring. I harvested lots of peppers, okra and eggplants thanks to the hoop house Ben raised and shared with us. We had the usual few weeks of melons before they got the fungus they get every year. We are still having many pickings of green beans and I have frozen enough that John is complaining I am taking up too much space in the freezer with them. We got good asparagus and strawberries earlier. The peas were a disappointment, a problem of the very long cold spring and late frost I think. Broccoli also bore late, many are just now putting out the first heads, also due to an oddly cold spring followed immediately by a heat wave.
It’s a good feeling to be nearly done with so much to show for my work. Fall is always a beautiful leave-taking (in more ways than one) but the work of summer makes it quite welcome, thank you. Welcome to some rest and dormancy.