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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Live within your Harvest

I ended up at the local JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts this week, seeking black lace for a sewing project for two of my grand daughters (I am making them aprons and chef hats to wear while helping their mom in the kitchen (they all love to cook) and a "grill monster" apron for their younger brother, who loves monsters and like to help mom when she grills. Yep, mom is the grillmaster in their house.

Found the trim, and fabric for the Bear's apron (aren't family nick names fun!) and this sign in the holiday decor. Yeah, it's imported crap and the full price was such a shock that it went right back on its peg hook. Then I saw the sale sign for the whole display and decided "what the heck." I will probably make one some day, but not now and without this one kicking around, it would surely slip my mind.

"Live within your Harvest" What does it mean? What did the manufacturer... the designer... have in mind with this different, and rather counter-culture, saying? What do YOU think it means?

For me, it resonated immediately, as I am re-dedicating my country living lifestyle once again to focus more on something akin to homesteading and less towards feeding the world (in other words, market gardening.). I know I will not completely "live within my (FARM) harvest" no matter how much I want to. And even in the olden days folks would make the trek to town occasionally for such things as coffee, tea or sugar, even if they grew everything else. And so shall I, though I hope by learning to keep bees (the new "livestock" I plan to add next year) I shall reduce my dependence on "store bought" sugar.

I do not live alone, though, and my other half grew up very differently than I did and has lived a life very different from mine. Though he is changing, his default setting, should I find a missing ingredient for a planned mean is "shall I go to the store?" He was, for a long time, a city dweller and often bought groceries daily, on the way home from work. So we must compromise, as all couples do, though since I do the cooking and meal planning, I am increasingly focusing on eating what I grow.

Another problem is that he does not like a wide variety of veggies, especially those most commonly served cooked. I can't complain, after all, I have a GUY who LOVES SALAD!  LOL And corn, peas, and green beans in their cooked form, occasionally Brussels sprouts, and cabbage when part of a cooked dish. And, oh, let's not forget staples (in our house) like potatoes, onions and green peppers. However, winter squash, cooked greens, beets, carrots in their cooked form... need not apply or at least not very often.

But he is learning and so am I. Proto-thoughts of garden plans for next year are beginning to flit about my brain. Getting a greenhouse or all season tunnel up must happen. I need to try sweet potatoes again, not loose the beans (both fresh eating and dried) and hopefully have a decent harvest of corn. I have before, but this was not a corn year. Keep the 'maters off the ground and the potato harvest at the same level. What happened to the onions?  How to set the garden up... what should be wide rows and what narrow and somewhat closer together, so that the tractor can cultivate between, with the plants ducking under the engine as it passes? How tall, how wide? 

We have had a protracted and mild autumn. There are still carrots and lettuce, kale, cabbages and chard, celery and some unripe (as of the last time I looked) all-but-lost pumpkins out there and some of it needs to come in or get covered. Late autumn weather is poised to arrive this coming week. It's time to plant garlic, clean up the asparagus and strawberry and bush rows, apply cardboard and mulch for protection against winter and spring weeds.

Meanwhile, my stance with one foot in what I consider "real life" and one  in town job/mundania continues to feel like I'm about to do the splits. The part time job turned all but full time this week (and didn't quite make it only because I forcibly put the brakes on. For the next couple of months, though, that will be the harvest that I tend most often: the bi-weekly paycheck. It will be appreciated for its ability to bring the materials for the wood stove installation, and repair (so I hope) of Artie, the old farm truck.

The harvest may vary, but the need to live within it remains.