My Harvest

Veggie Tables by Austi Record //

My Harvest by Nicole Demke //

My shifting fingers begin with the anticipation of bright, long days around the corner, marking the growing sense of summer. I pass over and through the stacks of seeds ready to meet the soil and use its time to sprout. The team I wish to gather hopefully will ignite the soil and extend towards a sky with bulks of fruit and meat ready to mix for a possible great harvest. The season is young and our knowing fresh, what to make when fall is in sight and the plants full of colorful delights for canning.

The choice is set. My green thumb is now ready for action while coupled earth of dirt and aromatic fertilizer are prepped and stirred. My rubber boots sink into the soft soil to mash the stench beneath my feet, the smell of gasoline surrounds me, while a strong motor screams of the tilling experience. This part has never been a favorite she says as her husband follows with the smoothing rake to fill the holes. 

The night sky falls upon the earth, cooling the prepared stage set for seed, too cold to plant the tiny roots for fear of their demise. Wait for the Mother’s holiday to pass for their pleasure, a remark by the farmer’s almanac. Let’s see if that will be too early even still. For now the tiny plants prepared in our green room will have to stay potted until decent weather becomes our favor. 

Ask and you shall receive. The sun shines and heats the earth; summer is felt with hot days and warm nights. A perfect combination for our peppers of many, tomatoes of abundance, corn as an experiment, cucumbers of hope as they did not hang on in previous harvests. Gather the small pots from the indoor slumber that has become ever so small for our anxious food growing out of control. Quickly….get them to soil so they can take advantage of our sweet mixture and begin the plan for what is to come. The time is taken to gently place the frail limbs of fine roots into the rich hopeful soil, be careful not to break when digging deep for placement. I remember my garden gloves and laugh at the sight of my partner bare handed with open skin in the poop, good for plants but not for my nose.

Each green, yellow stem is planted in the warmth and begins its life…..and my pleasure. Now becomes my favorite part of watering and helping them grow. I arise each morning and walk out to mounds of dirt. I hope they are as anxious as me to blast them with freshness on nozzle “shower.”  I love this time as the morning is slightly cooler. A burning fence creating a shower of steam in front of me, my coffee in hand warms my soul as I spray on. I imagine the newly planted starters are feeling the reverence as the water sinks into the root helping the growth.

Time presses on…..

Two months pass and our creation continues upwards, showing signs of fruit, small but visible. The cucumbers burst into large growth and our time has started, the need for jars to pickle and jam the chips into vinegar is present. Let’s clear selves in the pantry for the hopefuls in glass taking three weeks or more before ready to eat…..

Basic Pickling Solution: (Multiply as Needed)
4 Cups Water
2 Cups White Vinegar (high acid content)
¼ cup Kosher Salt
And whatever you want your pickles to taste like

Creation done…..Our cucumbers are a success!

Fall 2013….
The crisp air in the morning dew follows the warm night sky. Fall is around the corner; our decision to take the harvest and combine our roots is at a head. What to make with the plenty?  Tomatoes being the largest of our harvest, which leaves us with a many possibilities; salsa or spaghetti sauce: maybe a basic hot sauce?

We chose salsa this year as the Jalapeño plants were in pleasing gathers. The harvest is at an end; we pull the tight roots out of depth and crop the many. Tomato, Peppers, Garlic, Cilantro; combine the smells and texture’s and boil. Halloween decorations fill the house with the smell of much awaited spices fill the air. The feel of fall is deep in the season and our harvest months before is another success at its end. 

Thank you to the sun and warmth coupled with our dedication of a great harvest. We are set for the winter and pantry full. Hats off to the farmers of the west, we gather our hands with sustaining life of nature.