Monday, October 1, 2012

Harvest Moon

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Last Saturday hosted the harvest moon, or the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. Since farmers traditionally harvested the last of their crops by the light of the harvest moon it seemed like a good idea to emulate them by bringing in all I could yesterday afternoon.

This year spring came early and winter doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. Sometimes by now I’m cleaning up the blackened dregs of all but the hardiest vegetable plants. Yet there’s been no frost in the forecast, and while the nights get chilly enough for a fire on the grate, we still sleep with the windows wide open.

But the vegetable gardens are weary. I can tell. Yellowing tomato leaves, drooping bush beans, a smattering of powdery mildew on the single zucchini plant all broadcast an air of approaching senescence that mirrors the fruit-heavy serviceberries and cottonwood leaves fading from green to amber above.

There were two red cabbages severely threatened by aphids so I grabbed them and ditched the plants – along with one of the broccoli plants also affected. The other broccoli stalks are happy with the cool and continue to offer ancillary florets, so I let them be. The big bean pole is decorated with lots of fat purple and rattlesnake pods lumpy with ripening seeds. They’re heirlooms, so I’m set for bean seeds for next year. I pulled up the spent yellow wax bean bushes, though, along with the edamame and now-tough, three-foot basil.

Though there were plenty of tomatoes on the six plants in the kitchen potager, none had turned red since we got back from the river trip two weeks ago. (Ah – the river trip. Have been gathering my thoughts about how to blog about that.) So I picked all the fruit and dug up the plants.

There were a lot of green tomatoes.

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A lot. I bet we’ll still be eating them in December.

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Red tomatoes there in the big white bowl below – more green ones beneath them – two fresh quarts of honey from our friends Sherri and Tim’s hives, two tiers of peppers, eggplants, cabbage, garlic, spaghetti squash, and a few rogue apples from the neighbor’s tree, a puppy-pile of zucchini (the largest is two feet long, I kid you not) and jars of dried sage, rosemary and parsley. More parsley hangs, drying, above.

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Remaining in the gardens are beets, chard, parsnips, a sprinkling of carrots, broccoli, arugula, and a small plot of underdeveloped bunching onions and leeks. Though I haven’t canned much this year, the big freezer is chock full of garden produce, chicken and pork.

The larder is stocked, and I feel rich.

9 comments:

  1. George and Kathy EpsteinOctober 1, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Cricket:
    Reading your blog is like a writing tutorial for us wannabes. The elements of your story, the season of fall,a boutiful harvest, preserving and filling the larder with the goodness of home grown healthy food were expertly and eloquently tied together. Not to overlook are the artful photos,that were arranged and taken in the same skillful manner and style as the writing in your story. Also, like all your readers we will be happily awaiting, your thoughts about your river trip.
    Enjoy all the thoughts of comfort, that your harvest will bring you as fall gives its way to winter.

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  2. At least I don't have to worry about you not eating healthy---mom

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  3. A wonderful journey through the autumness of your garden. Rich you are, indeed.

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    1. As rich as I need to be ... though hitting the NYT Bestseller's list wouldn't hurt...

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  4. I would kill for some of your tomatoes! Not really- but I remember the sack of produce we left your home with a couple years ago... yum yum ;)

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  5. I think we'll have a light frost tomorrow night, so I'm going to cover the Tavera bush beans I planted late and are still producing the skinny French-style beans I like best. I enjoyed the two 4x4 raised beds so much this year that I'm getting two more installed in March. Now that I have a freezer, I can handle the extras, including lots of shredded zucchini for my favorite muffins.

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    1. Need any more zucchini this year? Cuz I know where to find a few...

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