Saturday, September 08, 2007

Land of Plenty

Days are getting shorter; darkness falls earlier each day. The Harvest will soon be ready to bring in from the garden...to be made into chutneys and butters and pickles and jams, all arrayed in jewel-toned jars along a towel lined counter.

For people that managed to grow food in their gardens, at any rate. If I wanted to prepare the Harvest I have been able to reap this year, it would be a sorry sight...there might be a few jars of Tomatoes, a few frozen bags of Raspberries and a very small pile of Squash.

I had great intentions of supplementing our Winter diet with homegrown vegetables and fruit; it didn't quite work out that way. I planted sufficient tomatoes to have enough to can a few jars, but there are only a few. I will have to buy a flat or two from the Farmer's Market to can; we will enjoy our homegrown ones fresh.

Somehow, I managed to pick up a Zucchini that is a miniature. I didn't even know there was such a thing. The Zucchini I'm accustomed to grow into baseball bats. The ones I have are tiny...with huge blossoms and very small leaves. They look very gourmet; I miss my bats, however. There is something about those very large green boats...they make enough shredded Zucchini for a hundred spicy loaves, should I be so inclined.

Our Raspberries outdid themselves...so many beauteous red globelets hanging, shimmering, in Sun's warm rays. That was one harvest where I did manage to bag a bushel to keep frozen.

This year, different plants...plants other than the usual garden varieties... produced well. The aforementioned Raspberries, the Tay berries and the Blackberries all produced bumper crops. There are many Rose Hips and Herbs are prolific, becoming huge shrubs. I have enough Lavender for many different applications...I use it in potpourris and teas and mix it with other Herbs as seasoning in roast Lamb.

And our struggling Apple Tree gave us twelve lovely, crunchy fruit, perfect in every way.

And the Sunflowers! Splendiferous, large blossoms calling to Sun, beckoning and shouting out their happiness at being alive, these plants took over my garden this year. It will be a land of plenty for the Birds that pass through on their way South...I will be hard-pressed to gather a bag or two for the house.

I have trouble taking these seeds away from the Birds.

And if the garden didn't quite live up to my hopes for it...

Then perhaps it lived up to Creator's.

Perhaps my garden, this year, was meant to feed the wildlife, in what I feel will be a difficult Winter. I leave the Seed Heads on the blossoms of all the plants...in this way, those Seeds become fodder for Birds that have been scarce in my garden lately.

There is nothing like a flock of Birds descending on a Shrub or Vine...the whole plant shaking, looking for all the world as if it is drowning in mirth. And the incessant trills, shrieks and just plain chatter emanating from that Shrub add to the feeling of gleeful energy. If I take away this food source, I will miss the sight...and the glee.

Yesterday, in the large Rockery, I heard a Frog. He was singing his heart out; I could feel his contentment and happiness. I followed his voice, being very careful my shadow would not give away my presence. His voice became louder, it echoed from a deep hole that has appeared amongst the Rocks.

I crept closer, almost right on top of the hole...and then the voice stilled. I backed off a bit...the voice resumed, becoming louder.

The voice became huge, ringing in my ears. I wondered at the size of the owner of that voice...surely only a monster Frog could make that loud a song!

But, suddenly, out they popped or hopped, depending on the view of things...three small green Frogs...out of one hole and into another, in beautiful unison.

I smiled and moved away, with their voices resuming their ode to life. It was one of those deeply satisfying moments in the garden.

My garden may not entirely feed me, but it seems as if the wild creatures find it a gourmet treat...a Land of Plenty.

After all, generosity in this case costs me nothing and gives me so much in return.

17 comments:

  1. Raspberries were the favourites when I had an allotment. So easy to grow and plenty of fruit and no fuss to freeze. Enjoy them in the middle of winter.

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  2. I wish I could share my tomato crop with you. I chose the climate where I live and the house where I live with an eye toward growing a bumper crop of tomatoes and I have never been disappointed.

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  3. Perhaps you didn't reap the fruit of your garden in quite the way you expected to, but if the photographs and words of this post are any indication of the gardens value, then I'd say you have managed to harvest much. And, by sharing it you have provided me with a feast fit for a king. Food that we physically consume feeds only our body and doesn't last long. Food like this, however, feeds the soul and memories of it will last a lifetime.

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  4. Your garden is eerily similar to ours. Planted two raspberry bushes at spring then noticed while researching them that one is to keep them away from the tomatoes! So they are now about 6 meters apart and I will put the tomatoes down-plot next year. How far apart I wonder. I put cutup tomatoes in a crock pot and cook them down overnight. Then to plastic containers and the freezer in 1 quart sizes. Just enough for spaghetti sauce but you hafta pick out the skins while it cooks. I have no pictures since the garden is not pretty after the summer heat that we had. Did get asparagus in though. My neighbor directed me to a ditch along the road where it was growing as spread from his plot, birds! So I have that started for a next year crop I hope.
    Thanks for visiting. Your garden report is most interesting.

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  5. Beautiful photos. I could almost reach out and pick those berries! I jarred 15 quarts of tomatoes, froze a couple of gallons of beans and corn and now the winter squash have free run of the garden. They will be plentiful. This was a lovely post.

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  6. Joe expressed just what I was thinking. You were in your own way fed. My poor attempt at gardening only provided one lone green pepper. I believe the rabbits like me though.

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  7. Thanks for your gardening news! I've really missed doing gardening this year. I had to leave the old one behind when we moved house. Here in the new house, we want to make changes - maybe build an extension - so I can't really develop the garden until we know exactly what we're doing. It would be a shame to plant something up and then have to change it all.

    We have more wildlife in the new garden though: squirrels, a hedgehog, and plenty of birds. In the old house, there were too many cats around, so most of the time we only saw birds like magpies that could stand up to them! I've also seen a frog in this new place, and a mouse that was staring up at me when I opened up the compost container. After a few moments of hoping I hadn't seen him, he scurried away and buried himself in the compost.

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  8. Davem, they really are an easy fruit. The first year we planted them, the birds found them easy to pick, too. So we covered the whole area with netting; this year, we had so many raspberries, we let the birds have the last few.

    Jan,

    I wish you could share, too, lol! This climate where I live is usually great for tomatoes;this year, it was screaming hot one day and cold the next. The fruit just would not set in such extreme weather fluctuations.

    Joe,

    The garden definitely feeds my soul. The first thing I did, when I moved, is to plant a garden. There were hardly any plants here when I moved in.

    If there's one thing I require, it is to have a plant sanctuary. Gardens have taken a lot of grief and turned it over for me, through the years.

    Goatman,

    Thank you for reminding me about raspberries and tomatoes. I had totally forgotten about the problems they have, if planted together. I learned about this in my last garden, where I had a row of raspberries and then a row of tomatoes. It wasn't pretty...the raspberries definitely won that round.

    So I was careful to keep them quite far apart, about twenty feet. I think it was the weather that was to blame for the lack of fruit set.

    You cook your sauce the same way I do, lol...I pick out the skins as well. I thought I would just cut out a step.

    I cook mine for a long, long time, too. The intense flavour that happens when it is cooked like that and the smooth, silky mouth feel of the sauce...you've stimulated my taste buds!

    I miss having asparagus. When I lived in the Okanagan, there was wild asparagus growing everywhere. Not so on the Island. I planted some at my former home, but they did not do well.

    Pauline,

    I am truly envious! What an incredible harvest...you have inspired me to try much harder next year.

    Sheila,

    Next year will be better, after you've settled into your new place a bit. Can't expect the Moon, with a son off to college and a huge move on your plate!

    As long as the rabbits like you better than your garden...you're in good shape, lol!

    Simon,

    I'm so glad you're in your new house!

    A hedgehog! We don't have those here, either! I would be excited if we did...reminds me of Beatrix Potter!

    When you have additions to plan, it is better to wait until you know where to plant,as you say. Construction can make such a mess of things...your new plants will thank you for waiting!

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  9. What a lovely spirit you have. It is quite contagious the way you are always looking on the bright side, finding the silver lining. I just moved into my very first house this past March. We have several lemon trees in the back yard. I am already planning how I will use them. Next year I am going to try my hand at my first garden. I am so very excited. I have always wanted a garden.

    I found you at blog village, my blog is listed there too.

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  10. Marsha,

    Lemon Trees! Oh, how I would love to have those growing in my yard!

    For me, there is nothing quite like planning a new garden. I guess that's why I'm continually making new beds, moving this plant here or there. I wish you luck with your endeavour!

    Thanks for your visit! And welcome!

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  11. Marion,

    As always, beautiful!

    I tried growing some stuff in some pots but wasn't very good at it.

    I guess I should have watered them here and there.

    BFF,
    Miss T

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  12. reminds me when i was teeny young girl, i used to help mom pick the veggies in our garden, tomatoes, long beans, ladies finger, chillies, some corn and other stuff i no longer remember. its so nice to have own garden, i no longer live in a house with big garden, but i'm happy with me small garden and potted plants keeps me happy in their own way :)

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  13. You have been tagged for The Personal Development List. I would love for you to participate.

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  14. Sorry I haven't been around much but things getting back to normal so will catch up on your posts shortly.

    I have nominated you for the Outstanding Personal Development Bloggers list. See my latest meme.

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  15. Priscilla,

    You have built up a very impressive List; I perused it a bit yesterday. I would love to participate!

    Jackie,

    Lovely to see you again! And thank you very much for the nomination! I am heading over to your site now to find what I'm to do.

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  16. I love the wonderful photos Marion. Everything looks so good. The heavy rain and flooding in England this year has meant that crops haven't been quite as good as usual. I've always loved tomatoes and raspberries but unfortunately I'm not green fingered and my parents never had much success growing them. I think it's lovely how your garden is a haven for all those creatures Marion.

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  17. I loved your post...

    So very true...Our garden wasn't as plentiful as usual, but we are happy with our great rhubarb, red currants, blueberries, figs and red currants, especially...

    Also, thank you for submitting this post into the "Dessert Course" of the Blog Carnival!

    Kimberly Edwards :)
    BlogNButter.com/homeandgardening

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