Monday, September 14, 2009

Harvest Season

It’s getting to be that time of year. The kids are back in school, the salmon are running, my tomato plants are giving one last, massive fruitful push, and, (as previously mentioned), my crafty-bug has kicked in. Autumn is far and away my favorite season, though I’ve noticed that few people seem to share my love of mellow gray days and downpours. They seem instead to want an eternal summer of clear skies and 80 degree days. I must assume that the majority of these summer people are most likely not gardeners, since most of us garden-folk are weary of the sowing/tending/harvesting cycle by this point in the year and welcome the fall weather for the slow down that it promises.

To me, there is not much in this world more satisfying than sitting down after a long day (or season’s) work and celebrating the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors. This small reward takes many forms – a cupboard full of jewel-colored jars of jam, a chest freezer filled to the gills with your own veggies, and maybe the best of all, the harvest festival – apple cider presses, kids cracking nuts with a hammer (yikes!), neighbors sharing and exchanging their garden goodies and smiles all around.

I was lucky enough to attend a neighborhood harvest party just this past weekend. The party was held by the Wendell Berry Community Garden project to celebrate a year of growing a huge assortment of beautiful, organic fruits and veggies, and in turn, donating thousands of pounds of said veggies to the Thurston County food bank. I was thoroughly inspired by their example. This is the sort of thing that drives me to get out there in my yard and rip up sod and plant in its place loads of extra vegetables, destined to be given away to those who need them the most. I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting there. Every year we add a new garden bed or two, and the previous year’s hits and misses help us decide what will work and what won’t. So, instead of being altogether calming, this particular harvest festival was actually pretty motivating. Rather than taking my ease with a latte and a good book, I am already sketching and plotting next spring’s garden.