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|Harvesting the Karma
|A Gardener's Diary…
|by Jules Harrell
|As I write this article, I
reflect on how the summer has gone. We've experienced a very high heat
index, bigger than life weeds, Japanese beetles, slugs, a llama who ate
my corn. A fox who ate my cats, fishers who ate many other local cats.
Flowers, birds and bees. Then there's the larger wildlife who live here
and freak out my dogs. Bears, for example.
One day, I took a morning off from the garden to track a longterm
resident big black bear from his morning swamp root breakfast to his
pawprints to his den by a wild berry patch, deep in the woods. Have you
ever seen a bear's bed? It's a big surprise, let me tell you.
Other excitement included having my locked, 2009 Toyota truck stolen
stolen in broad daylight in downtown Pittsfield, MA. Truckless,
expecting to never see my beloved Tacoma again, I sent the thieves
really good vibes even though I felt like buying a shotgun. I told the
thieves that if they knew me, they would never take my truck. I
physically sat next to them as they pawed through my stuff, including a
silver necklace on the gearshift. I felt sorry for them that I had such
abundance here on the farm while they were reduced to stealing trucks.
I even told them their mothers loved them… 48 hours later, my truck was
returned to within two blocks of where it was taken, with all contents
intact, including checkbooks, jewelry, Netflix, and CDs. The Pittsfield
police are amazed. These were professional thieves with a pass key. I
think they just changed their minds.
Then there's the harvest. Recently, four of my friends came over to
ferment veggies together, probably 40 pounds of beets, carrots, garlic
and cabbage. Jim and Mary don't have a garden this year, so they come
to our place and work in ours. I always call Vince as he's my
fermenting guru. While Mary trimmed the Japanese beetle eaten grape
leaves, Jim harvest broccoli, cukes and cabbages, and Vince prepared
our large containers by hosing them down and scrubbing them out.
We all sat around chatting, and scrubbed veggies, trimming the tops and
bottoms. Moving the operation over to a large, wooden block on our
picnic table, we commenced to chopping and bruising the veggies in a
big 10 gallon pot. We added salt, bruised, and mushed with our very
Next, I crammed jar after jar with the luscious soon to be bubbling
veggies, while Mary added a little salt to the top, a little water and
topped them off with waxed paper and a lid. Then we all had a feast, as
my husband was busy cooking while we were fermenting. My friends each
took several jars of veggies home with them, filled with organically
grown, good energy, love and friendship.
At the moment, we have about 75 pounds of garlic drying, as the garlic
harvest was early this year. After pulling all the garlic and hanging
it to dry, I replanted the beds with some peas and clover to add
nitrogen to the depleted soil. I'll replant these beds in October with
the best garlic, and mulch it over well for the winter. We ate large
when our friends invited us to pick their blueberry bushes. Mine are
still young babies. We will enjoy beets and cabbages and carrots made
into kimchee with garlic and cayenne this winter. I still have corn
growing from the other side of the garden as the llama who
escaped didn't know about that well-hidden patch. This year, the most
exciting news is that almost everything in the garden was grown from
Co-op seed, started in beds in the cattle panel greenhouse.
Probably my favorite aspect of gardening is sharing with others. I took
a huge wad of garlic up to the neighbor's house so that they have some
to plant, promising them more as they have six children and are avid
garlic eaters. Growing food in great abundance and sharing with friends
is the best reward for a summer of hot, hard work, gargantuan weeds,
loose llamas, and voracious bugs. Here's to another great harvest.
You can visit Jules at www.cherryplainfarm.blogspot.com.
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