Gifts of plenty


It’s that time of year.  If your (vegetable) garden is doing well, you have too much food.  If it’s doing poorly, has pests, or the deer are eating it, you don’t have the food you’ve worked so hard for.

There’s a reason I only grow a bit of fruit — because I’ve done the vegetable garden thing.

Did I miss a zucchini?  It’s now big enough to hit baseballs with, and maybe I can grind into bread, but not much else. 

Miracle of miracles, the tomatoes are ready!  But I can’t eat this many.

That beer near the lettuce patch really works.  I now have way too much lettuce, but also drowned slugs.

Are you getting the picture?  Growing vegetables means constantly worrying about having to control outside events (bugs, mammals, the weather).  And then, if you’re successful, you have to try to preserve or use all the food.  Spending August canning and freezing tomatoes and corn — not my favorite memory.  Making ginormous bottles of grape jam with perspiration dripping from my body; rushing to pickle all the little gherkins.

And the squash.  And the beans.  And the lettuce.

I have favorite stories that others have told me — how in some neighborhoods you cannot leave your screen door or car door unlocked during August, because you’ll come home to a big bag of zucchini and tomatoes.  How the neighbor’s dog stole the tomatoes just as they got ripe.

I buy my produce at the Farmer’s Market while I can.  I try not to buy too much (I usually fail) and I try to use it up quickly.  Fresh peas in the shell; tiny new potatoes, fresh squash ready to saute or steam; onions and peppers — these all end up in my bag.  I also get fresh eggs, meat and fish, berries and stone fruits.

Today, someone gave me more lettuce than we can eat in a couple of days.  Of course, I bought lettuce, too.  The glories of plenty.

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