Seasonal Bounty

As summer slips into the coolness of fall, nature gifts us with abundant treasures.

The mornings are filled with mobs of birds flitting from branch to branch in the wild cherry tree eating its tiny fruit. Then they drop down into the poke bushes and gorge themselves on the shiny black berries. The invasive autumn olive shrubs are heavily laden with ripe red berries soon to be stripped by deer and bears. I’ll take my share as well. Autumn olive berries make a delicious jelly and juice, full of good nutrition, too.

I’ve been harvesting and processing food from the garden and the wild landscape around us for weeks now:

summer harvest

 

tomatoes

Baskets of red, orange, and yellow tomatoes

 

 

goldrush-beans

 

 

 

Many handfuls of green, yellow and purple beans;

 

then came sweet potatoes, butternut squashes, a few pumpkins, carrots, broccoli, peas and okra, green and purple bell peppers.

garden bounty

I love wandering around and finding stands of mint to cut and dry for tea – apple mint, Tibetan tea mint, pepper- mint. These herbs have spread and made themselves at home in the various places I tucked them in a few years ago.
It’s time to cut thyme and oregano and feverfew for spice and medicine.  And to pickle nasturtium buds.

herbs

I made peach jam and spicy apple sauce, canned dilly beans and stew tomatoes. One of the tomato jars cracked open in the canning kettle and the remaining jars had to stew in the mess for 50 minutes.  I was not going to start all over again!

applesauce-and-stewed-tomatoes
Canning always takes longer than you think. There are so many preparatory steps that need to be timed just right – prepping the fruit or veggies, cooking them while sterilizing the canning jars in the dishwasher and the lids and rings in a pot of very hot water on the stove. Then the water in the large canning kettle has to be brought to boiling, preferably just at the exact time when I am done filling and capping the jars.

It’s magical when it all works out smoothly, a bit stressful when it doesn’t.

I feel a great satisfaction from storing up summer’s bounty for winter.  It’s my own food grown without any chemicals, with love, pride, and lots of sweat and body aches from spring through summer into fall. The way my mother used to do it, and the way my grandmothers did.  I feel connected to a long line of ancestral women who knew how to grow and preserve food and feed their families throughout the seasons.  Yes, I can buy organic produce from supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and local farms.

But I would be missing something essential.  My garden connects me to the seasons in an intimate, visceral way.  Each year, it teaches me ever deeper lessons of trusting the soil, the critters, and the plants themselves.  The garden provides exercise, nourishment, medicine, and often delightful and curious encounters with its many inhabitants.  It’s my part of the world where I truly feel like a co-creator of health, goodness, and abundance.

feverfew-blossoms

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week:  Seasonal.

About Beauty Along the Road

My name is Annette. I am passionate about nature, health, simplicity, self-reliance, truth, and life-long learning. Originally from Germany, I now live in Virginia, USA. I am a therapist, health coach, writer, photographer, and organic gardener.
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28 Responses to Seasonal Bounty

  1. What a wonderful harvest Annette. Clearly, you have a knack for gardening. I miss my garden with mostly flowers and joy, but not much food.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    You are amazing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great essay, Annette! Very hard work but what a bountiful payoff over the coming months.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bythebriny says:

    What a rich harvest, a wonderful reward for all your hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dalo 2013 says:

    Wonderful to live such a refreshing and freshing life ~ nothing quite like home grown produce, and your photos and description show the quality of such a life🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your harvest. Those Big tomatoes…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bun Karyudo says:

    I guess gardens do keep us in contact with the seasons, just like you say at the end. I live in an apartment, which probably explains why I barely even know what day of the week it is most of the time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tree girl says:

    I’d love to have a tour of your garden. It sounds amazing.

    What size is the area of your garden, and what is your planting method?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually never measured my garden, just kept on expanding it several times over the years. I start many of my plants from seeds during the late winter months and then transplant them as weather conditions allow. I also have an unheated green house which allows me to grow hardy greens in the winter. I only use natural pest control, no poisons whatsoever.

      Like

  9. oldpoet56 says:

    The finger of God paints pictures that no man can improve upon, man usually just screws up the scenery.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What green fingers you have, Annette! Your produce photos are wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Tina Schell says:

    What a beautiful post Annette. I’m quite envious of both your green thumb and the resulting gorgeous fresh produce!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sparkyjen says:

    Is it possible to have a Ball Jar fetish? I have loved them since childhood, and still use them to put my delicious homemade soups in today. My beloved Mother was a wiz at canning. It was a pleasure being sent down to the basement for a Ball Jar of peach jam, apple sauce, green beans, pickles, etc. Much like yourself she began her canning early. We were allowed to help her. No, she insisted we help her. What she didn’t realize was that she had one daughter that hung onto her every word. She may not have understood today’s Ball Jar fetish, but I made sure she understood my love for her and her teachings!

    Like

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