Recently I was knee deep in a raspberry patch with a big grin on my face. While on vacation – visiting my in-laws, they announced that the raspberries were ripe. So, first thing in the morning, bowl in hand, I headed out back where the fruit was calling my name. I was amazed that the birds and bears hadn’t discovered them yet! We ate a few while we were there, but most went to their freezer so they can enjoy them when the snow is on the ground. Frankly, it’s not the eating that brings me such pleasure. It’s the gathering of food that delights me.
Just this past weekend my husband and I celebrated 41 years of marriage with a short trip to North Carolina. And what did I want to do? Visit a nearby orchard to pick apples! The fruit hung heavy on the trees for as far as I could see. I picked apples for eating, for jelly, for applesauce and pie filling, and I picked peaches just because they were so huge and beautiful!
Here on the homestead I’ve got a bumper crop of blackberries, the best I’ve had in a long time. Since we couldn’t possibly eat that many before they began to spoil, I put them in the freezer where they stayed until I could can pie filling and jam. In the past few weeks I’ve dug up my potatoes, shelled peas and cut down the cabbage to make sauerkraut.
The corn’s beginning to tassel and tomatoes hang heavy, ripened by the sun. The pepper patch is loaded with sweet green, hot wax, jalapeno, and Chinese five-color peppers soon to become part of my homemade mustard, salsa and pickled pepper rings.
The shelves are lined with empty jars I can’t wait to fill. And it’s already getting close to fall planting season where the cycle starts anew. While I enjoy all things gardening, it’s the gathering that makes my heart sing. I find it quite amazing that I can place small bits of sprouted potatoes deep in the soil and in a matter of weeks fill a bushel basket to overflowing.
I suppose It’s the wonder of seeds and soil, sun and rain that culminates in the feeding of us. That’s the pleasure of gathering abundance.