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Friday, September 19, 2014

Learning to Sit

In the "balance" of life, which is more of an ideal than a reality, I find myself on the go most of the time. Even when my job requires that I sit at the computer for hours, my mind is often going a mile a minute. The fullness of life has caused Fawn and I to do a lot of her home study work in the evenings... so the idea of down time has been a little elusive. 

However, in the intense beauty of early autumn, I am learning something new. Sitting doesn't need to wait for the right moment. I don't need to get all of my work finished first; being done is only an imaginary concept anyway. The epiphany here is that in the middle of it all, I can take ten or even twenty minutes to sit down with both my body and my mind, and just be. And you know what? It doesn't mess my day up at all. It makes everything that much better.

With this spot waiting for me, how can I not sit? Yet the days slip quickly by, and I may not make it into this chair for a week or more. The Zen idea, "Devote time to sitting," is making more and more sense.

Yes, there is canning and dehydrating to do. But this is also the time to soak it all up and appreciate the gifts of the garden.  I would never have guessed that we'd have a huge ripe beefsteak tomato in our garden. (We grow lots of green tomatoes, but not necessarily red ones.) Better to sit and marvel for a moment instead of hastily chopping it up for the dehydrator...

...because as it turns out, an important part of being ready for winter is having enjoyed summer and fall.

This was tonight's sunset as seen from above the asparagus garden, reminding me that the natural world provides every reason to learn to sit. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wood Converted to Food

So what has all this wood produced, anyway? Well, let's take a look...

This is the earliest full size ripe tomato to come from the Wood for Food garden -- and my first time growing Japanese Truffle tomatoes. I can't say I've ever eaten a tastier tomato. Gardening at 3,000 ft elevation means that some years, the only large ripe tomatoes are those that ripen in the house after the frost. This one was a record for us, on August 30th! The plant is growing in the second aspen hugelkultur bed we built, shown at the end of the post, "Hugelkultur Goes Underground." 

(Marjoram hanging from my finger, ready to dry for later)

I have fond memories of eating "green potatoes" growing up. My mother, having married a Dutchman, learned to cook some excellent traditional foods of the Netherlands. I remember sitting at the dinner table with my family in the wintertime, the sun long set, eating steaming mashed potatoes with dried kale mixed in. This year, the aphids left our kale alone, so I decided to try dehydrating some. I can't wait to try some with our garden spuds, to make wintertime mashed potatoes more tasty, and healthier too.

Speaking of spuds, here Fawn is pretending that the potato plant is a hobo's backpack. We harvested three plants together and left the rest to grow a little longer.

Cucumbers! Another first -- full sized Armenian cucumbers, before fall set in. These are our #1 favorite garden snack. A new routine Fawn and I have swung into is taking the compost to the garden, picking a cucumber to split, and munching on it while we walk the dog. This is an amazing time of year. 

You've heard about "the one that got away." Here's the one that got away on us! We've had a few cucumbers hiding in the cucumber tipi, growing bigger by the day, unbeknownst to us. The latest monster only fits in the fridge diagonally. In years past, we couldn't grow cucumbers larger than your average pickle. Yes, we have had great weather this summer for growing veggies, but it seems the hugelkultur didn't hurt anything either...

This carrot had to be photographed (yes, it is a carrot selfie). This is the largest diameter carrot we've grown, and it came from the Horizontal Spruce Bed.

This year I was able to get rainbow swiss chard seed in the ground on time for the fall garden. I can't wait to see how long I can keep these ones going! The feel of fall has been in the air each morning. It's not long now. I hope to keep the garden producing through Halloween.

What are your hopes for your fall garden?