Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tangible Grace

I've had a love/hate relationship with my garden this year.  There was excitement and anticipation in the spring when it was time to plant, and we had many salads from the leaves of the prolific beets.  But the spinach left much to be desired, the cabbage didn't do anything, the romaine lettuce piddled around.  There was good broccoli, and the season stayed cool long enough that it kept bearing even after the cabbage worms gave up on it.  The chard was OK.  The corn was pretty good, but not as good as I'd hoped after planting soy beans to add nitrogen to the soil, and adding extra compost as well.

But the tomatoes, well, they grew high and green and began to bear and then died up from the ground.  We ate quite a few fresh but put none in jars.   I got discouraged.  Life was busier than I thought it would be.  I was having a lot of fun with more people working for us this summer and providing food and snacks and conversation, but I wasn't getting into the garden like I thought I would.  Truthfully, I wasn't as motivated as usual either.  I lost my garden drive, I guess.
The dead depressing tomato plants.

I still planted the sweet potatoes, but they were quite late.  I put in very late squash and cantaloupe and winter squash as well.  Fall beans went in late, and came up spotty and I replanted the empty spots.  Then I turned my back on my garden.  I couldn't look at the tomatoes anymore, and the schedule took a definitive turn for the worse with vacation and camp outs, and school starting, and other unnamed stressors.

Fall is the season of grace.

Today when Luke was over he wanted to play outside, so I decided to pick beans.  I've picked reasonable amounts a few times in the last couple of weeks so I thought I'd be able to fit the rest that still needed picking into an ice cream bucket.  But we filled a dishpan instead!
Luke showing the beans we picked.

When I was a kid, I heard that the definition of grace was 'undeserved favor'.  I certainly did not earn those beans.  It reminded me of the verse that talks about the farmer planting the seed, but not knowing why or how it produces a crop.  There was no explanation for those beans that had anything to do with effort that I'd provided.

Other things have decided to produce a crop as well.  The chard is as beautiful and tasty as I've ever had.  I steamed a pot of it for supper last night, using boiling salted water.  After it was drained I added just a smidge of butter, and it was heavenly.  I was so glad the boys didn't want much.
Luke posed so willingly today, and with him there it is easy to see how massive the chard is.
I have a bit of a dilemma with the next evidence of grace.  I planted hot peppers in anticipation of a tomato crop.  I have a pepper crop and nothing to use them for.  Contact me if you want some.  There are two varieties, one is hotter than the other, but I don't remember if the small round ones or the long tapered ones are the hottest.
long tapered peppers
small rounded peppers
So a garden has yet appeared where none should have been.  What fun.  But of course the best fun of all was sharing the day with Luke.  While we were taking the pictures he wanted to take some too, so we were turning the camera back and forth and taking turns using the shutter.  I was lucky to get this shot of Luke.

 There are plenty of times when I forget how much is given to me that I have not earned.  I find it easy to expect things to go badly because I believe I haven't worked hard enough to deserve better.  What a treat to be reminded that it isn't all about me.  Sometimes good just happens.  Sometimes bad just happens too, but today I'm noticing the good.  And I'm thankful.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It must feel weird to be a woman...

That's what Chuck said this morning when I described what it is like to have a night sweat.  I very much enjoy being a woman, but there are plenty of things that do feel weird.