Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Feeble Cry From The Harvest Time Homestead

Help! I have reached a point in my life when I want to slow down, stop being so busy.

No, wait, that's not correct. It's not that I want to stop having full days but rather I want to change what it is I spend my time doing with my days. Or perhaps (pant-pant, puff-puff) I'm just ready for summer to be over.

When I have to divide my day's hours between outside time and inside time, I can't get the "necessaries" done and still have time for much of any relaxing. And typically, in the summer even in regard to the necessary things, inside time gets short changed. By a lot.

For instance, my house looks grittier and grimier than I like it to be, and although what we eat may be very healthy, I yearn for something other than a big salad, fresh berries or quick egg meals (I miss puttering in the kitchen concocting a great meal . . . while sipping a glass of wine), and I just can't find more than a few minutes now and then to read or do any handwork. Oh, and also I find it hard to spend time at the computer blogging.

Well, summer is on the way out. As soon as the sun goes down these late afternoons, you can actually feel the nip of fall in the air.

The above are our pair of Shetland geese. The pure white is the male while Mrs. is the gray and white. We've had Shetland and American Buff geese but recently made the decision to let go all of the American Buffs. We've found them to be really big geese that eat a lot of grain (tons!) in the winter time. They're also very clumsy and tend to barrel over and through anything in their path. Unfortunately, we lost two goslings this summer, both by being stepped on by these big honkers. We considered putting the three adult geese we had in the freezer . . . but simply don't have the room. So we offered them (alive, that is) to our daughter and she took them. She now has quite the poultry yard menagerie of geese, chickens, ducks and one very handsome tom turkey. (She really should be called Poultry Mama rather than Chicken Mama.)

I've already started garden clean-up which feels pretty darn good. Partly because some crops did so poorly this year that it's clear there's no hope in waiting for harvest, and partly because some crops have run their natural course. I'm more than ready to start putting the garden to bed for the winter.

Beans, raspberries and blueberries are being harvested and processed regularly right now. The yellow beans came in first and I have all of them I want in the freezer so our daughter is happy to get those still coming in. Even though I might wish for a heartier breakfast, I'm still enjoying the fresh berries in cream or milk each day. I've frozen or preserved just about all the berries we need for our year's supply so much of the harvest now is being given away.

Whine time. (Wine? Did somebody say wine?) Well, here I am again at the end of the day and I want desperately to go spend some time in my quilt studio, or maybe just sit and read for an hour or so (or here's an idea . . . why don't I vacuum? . . . or not), but the hour is too late for that and I still need to take a shower to get the raspberry juice off my arms and the dirt off my knees.

Yup, gotta do some reorganizing of priorities as far as what I do during the day. I have a great solution that would work for me. (Understand it is TOTALLY UNREALISTIC . . . and ain't never gonna happen, but I just know it would work.) If I could have one week of summer alternating with one week of winter year 'round, my life would be much better balanced. And I'd be happy, happy, happy. (Told ya it was totally unrealistic.)


  1. Are you serious that all you eat for breakfast is berries and cream/milk? I would fall over from hunger before an hour is even out!

    And yes, I wondered where you had gone---was starting to worry that the garden had eaten you alive...

  2. Wow, I can really relate to this post! I feel I am shortchanging not only myself in relaxation time but also my children with "mom time"! I like how you refer to it as "putting the garden to bed for the winter"! I was saying "rip it all out" and feeling guilty for it...I am going to start using your phrase instead for less guilt, lol!

  3. Yes, the time has come even in the South, to be done with most summer veggies. I have "ripped out" (to use Erin's term) the green bean and lima bean vines and the egg plants, the squash have long since died. I now only have tomatoes, okra and peppers still bearing. Am ready to plant a "patch" of mixed greens this weekend. Come on Fall!

  4. If Mama Pea takes a class, she might be able to make homemade cheese to go with all that whine...hehe. I joke! Only a joke. You gotta admit, it made you smile.

    Seriously now, be glad that you have the space to grow a garden of which you can, eventually, annually, grow weary.

  5. Mama JJ - You have to remember I have a very slow metabolism and anything I eat stays in my body for approximately 6 days!

    If I went out into the garden and didn't come back it would be because I got tangled in the weeds and couldn't escape. I have NEVER let so many weeds enjoy a luxurious and full life in a garden of mine like has happened this year. Ugh.

  6. Erin - I feel mounds of guilt for saying I'm too busy when there are those like you and Mama JJ who seem to do so much more than cranky little ol' me. Four kids and home schooling? Two kiddies and an absentee husband? That's why I think I need to take a good, hard look at my priorities. I should have the time (at this stage of my life) to fit in more of those things to nuture my soul. (Oh, gag!)

  7. Vivian - I do envy you your ability to put in more fresh greens for your "fall garden." I would do that if I didn't know juuuust before they were ready to harvest, Jack Frost would come in for the kill!

  8. Anonymous - We have a saying (reprimand?) in our family: "Would you like a little cheese to go along with that whine?"

    I am very grateful for my lovely, fertile garden beds and field garden. I just have to get a little more realistic about not planting so much that I could feed most of the county. We're finding the two of us don't eat that much and I have to scale back on how much I grow.

    I've always said I wanted to learn how to grow cut flowers. Perfect time to use some of the un-needed veggie space for that. (Man does not live by broccoli alone.)

  9. Remember back in April when your soul was crying out to get in the garden again? Isn't it a wonderful thing that in Minnesnowta we have seasons so we never get fully stuck in a rut? Love your posts-keep 'em coming, dear!! Enjoy the last days of summer.

    Ps. Have you ever had homemade raspberry wine or made it yourself? Yum. Something those extra berries can be used for next year...just a thought:)

  10. Melissa - Oh, you put forth such wise words! In April I couldn't wait for those little seeds started inside to sprout. Good thing we keep getting renewed, eh?

    Funny you should mention raspberry wine. Roy has always wanted to get into wine making and when he was helping me pick a couple of days ago we were talking about just how GOOD some homemade raspberry wine would be. I definitely see some in our future!

  11. Here in SE MN, the garden is full of green beans (some of them are getting so big, they'd choke a chicken!), sweet corn and tomatoes. So much so, that we are behind in the harvest and I feel like throwing in the towel for the season. Anyone feel like helping?:)

  12. Flowers? Hhhmmm...because I am male and as such feel somehow qualified to tell people how they ought to do all the things I know nothing about, I feel like I ought to 'splain a little some-some about how you should go about cultivating these flowers you desire, but, alas, I've got nothin'! Excuse me now, I'm going to go and tell wifey how to make a layer cake.

  13. Hi, just found your blog, and gotta say how wonderful it is...looking forward to catching up on your past posts. As for the housework-let it go....there's plenty of lousy weather ahead. Now is the time for outdoors. I've got the same thing going on here. We step carefully in the house-never know where those killer dust bunnies lurk!!

  14. Melissa - Wonder if we could somehow get the garden harvest spread out a bit more? Like maybe starting in late April? Ha.

    I well remember when we lived in Illinois and the frost FINALLY zapped the tomato plants . . . so I could stop making stewed tomatoes, ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salsa, tomato juice . . . you, I'm sure, know what that feels like!

  15. Dear Anonymous - And what a wealth of knowledge you do possess! (Tee-hee.)

  16. Hi, Sue! Thanks so much for stopping by. I just took a quick peek at your blog and . . . WOW! Do you live in a magazine? Your place is GORGEOUS to the nth degree.

    When things slow down, I very much look forward to reading up on your past posts. Your place is gorgeous. (Did I already mention that?) Something tells me you have a wealth of information on gardening, flower/herb cultivation, etc.

    I'll be following your blog, for sure!