First the berries, and now other bits of the garden. (Plus another raspberry harvest picture I found. I wish the raspberries would produce forever!) Since I’ve been meaning to write about the garden for awhile, some of these pictures are already outdated. The starts have been planted. We were enjoying peas in lots of stir fries, but now we’re done harvesting peas for the season. Some peas that we didn’t harvest in time are being left to go to seed. Jeff has been growing so much lettuce and most of our salads have been from the garden, which feels wonderful. He’s also been harvesting extra greens (collards and kale) when we have more than we can eat at one time and blanching it and freezing it for the winter. I mentioned that it has been the best year for wild berries. It’s also been the worst year for deer flies. Normally we hardly see any deer flies at all, but this year we have fly swatters handy and Jeff ordered some sticky strips to wear on hats. They’ve been the main annoyance in the garden.
It’s funny how every year Jeff and I talk about growing a smaller garden to make things a bit easier on ourselves, but that doesn’t end up happening. The garden ends up growing each year instead. I can’t take much credit for the garden this year, I’ve helped here and there, but Jeff has been the one to care for it every day and do the work. To be honest, I have felt too overwhelmed this year with trying to keep up around here in general, with a festival season that gets busier with each passing year and with giving time and energy to our business, that it’s been hard for me to even think about the garden. To me the garden felt like one more thing to stress about with an already full plate, and I felt I needed to take a step back. I truly, truly love the garden, I just didn’t want any more responsibility. (I would have been sad if we didn’t have a garden, though!)
Jeff, on the other hand, felt like instead of another thing to stress about, the garden was a place for him to de-stress. His time in the garden is a wonderful balance for him because when he spends hour after hour working in his shop, he needs that time out in the garden to move around, and unwind. Bracken loves to join Jeff in the garden and it’s wonderful for him too. Gardening is a passion they both deeply share and I feel their time working in the garden together is special. The times I’ve dug my hands in the soil have felt so nourishing, but oftentimes when Jeff and Bracken are out in the garden together I focus indoors on cleaning up the kitchen, making food, packaging up orders, and sometimes posting new items in our online shop. I find it funny that I feel stressed when the house is a mess and can hardly think about anything else until I get it back in order (that’s a big job, though, it turns messy right away after I clean it) and Jeff feels stressed when the yard is a mess. He gets a feeling of peace when the yard is mowed and the garden beds are weeded, and I get a feeling of peace when the clutter is picked up in the house and the floors are vacuumed.
Every time I go out into the garden I am grateful for the time and energy Jeff has spent there this year. Our yard is so beautiful because of the work of his hands and we all enjoy going out there so much. Jeff also planted flowers he knows I love and helped Bracken fix up his own garden bed again this year. (I’m seriously amazed by how much Jeff is able to grow in small spaces, providing so much food for our family.) We’re loving the sweet peas along the fence in the front yard, watching the beans climb up all the trellises, and seeing the grapes slowly grow bigger. Bracken knows all the favorite spots where the lizards like to hang out and I snapped a picture of one he showed me along the side of the greenhouse. One day he found a snake skin and was so excited with his find. He decided to go on a treasure hunt all around the garden and ended up finding three snake skins in one day. I could hardly believe it, and he thought he was the luckiest kid ever. When choosing books at the library recently, he wanted field guides and more field guides. Must-See Birds of The Pacific Northwest was a really neat book, sharing places to go to spot certain birds. There are a lot of new places we want to visit now to look for birds, and if you are in the Pacific Northwest and are interested in birds it’s a book I would recommend checking out.