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Why Harvest Feels like Christmas in my Heart

Well it's late August in central Ohio and the vegetables are really flowing into the kitchen. I have piles of veggies strewn about. And flowers. LOTS OF FLOWERS!!!

It's taken me months of growing and care, weeding and sunburn to get this far. My lettuces, radishes, peas, beets, bok choi and chard were absolutely glorious. I lost all my cucumbers and most of my squash to pests. The beans are still going gangbusters. The grapes have outgrown their temporary arbor and wave about, grabbing my hair when I walk underneath to check the clusters of still-hard, sour green grapes. Soon... I'm so excited. My small tomatoes are prolific this year, and my large varieties have been disappointing. My tough tasty peppers have been resilient enough to resist the ever-encroaching weeds as they are in a different set of weedy beds... once disturbed, the seed bank does activate so strongly the first few years with a vengeance.

A second unexpected joy has been the benefit of the bajillion flowers I planted all about. I planted cannas, dahlias, (Oh DAHLIAS - wow to my friend Alex who gifted me the beauties shown here, BLESS YOU, I've never grown dahlias before!) begonias, mandevellia from sweet sweetie Jeni and more. I added rudbeckia, wood betony, herbs, zinnias and celosia- it felt like an extravagance as they comprise a good 1/3 of the area of my raised beds. Well what happened has been nothing short of breathtaking - the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds established a thoroughfare in my garden! The perennial clematis, hibiscus, lilies, indigo, roses, echinacea and hydrangea have been swarmed and never looked better! I will be planting an extravagant amount of flowers every year going forward.

Most mornings, I cut fresh herbs and flowers to adorn one of a dozen vases of colorful happiness I have all about my home and dry the herbs on a line above my sink and enjoy the bright fresh scent they give the kitchen.

My daughter knows to eschew the grocery store unless she has shopped in my kitchen or refrigerator first. My heart overflows knowing that I'm providing her with clean, nutrient-dense foods. It feels so good to see her trot off back to her little home down the road with a bag full of love in the form of food.

I have a sundried tomato and herb paneer, quarts of fresh heirloom tomatoes, heat-beat bolted basil, leg of lamb, a pack of lamb bratwurst, yellow summer squash, green zucchini, sweet peppers. hot peppers, green beans, a dozen eggs and a quart of fresh goats milk. All she needs to provide is prep, and she's set for a few days. She does this at least twice a week.

This is what it's all about. THIS is gratitude and happiness that I can provide this for my family fresh from our farm. Love this life!

If you've ever wanted to farm, now is the time. Begin wherever you are. Even if it's in a big container on the balcony of your condo downtown. You don't need land to grow your own food. If you want fresh ingredients like these, go to a local farmer's market and make some connections. Chances are you can get a CSA share and help support that local farmer. The richness you'll experience will change your life forever.



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