The garden is slowing down. So is Fred.
The grasshoppers are speeding up. The mob is prolifically increasing and dive bombing anything they can chew up.
And I, like the garden, (and Fred) am slowing down too. But I am also dive bombing what veggies are left.
My Bible study friends think I am just a bet “tetched” in the head.
They observe the canned tomatoes on the counter and know that I have been on a canning frenzy lately. They wonder about me because they, like me, have slowed down too. And they have no desire to “can” anything.
But, I like to can. I love fresh canned tomatoes in my stews and soups in the winter. I enjoy the onions and can’t have too many of those either.
I have made peace with the garden.
It wasn’t always that way.
I married Fred. He is a planter. He inherited his mother’s passion and loves to see things grow.
Every single, cotton-picking year!
He plants a garden whether we need one or not. And he never misses his scheduled St. Patrick’s Day planting of the potatoes (ceremony).
I used to feel overwhelmed and a little bit peeved when he would tromp into the kitchen with potatoes, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, squash, green peppers, and whatever else the summer garden provided.
He would put the bucket on the floor in front of the sink, and load the sink and accompanying colander with more .
But he trained me and I learned the ropes after about 30 years. Note — It took 30 years!
However, I trained him too.
He takes off his garden shoes at the back door.
He washes the potatoes outside. (That was the routine anyway until a few years ago when we discovered that potatoes keep longer if one leaves the garden soil on them).
He helps get the produce into the refrigerators before their usefulness is obliterated by the outside warmth.
So, O.K. he helps. You get that.
What I have learned is that we all need to eat more real food. I define real food as food in its natural state. Food that has not been chemicalized, pasteurized, process-ized, or ruin-ized. We should eat food that is in its total original state as much as possible. And spraying is not good, but often necessary.
About 15 years ago, something went “click” in my brain cells.
I began to enjoy cooking about as much as I enjoy eating!
I no longer become angry at the potatoes and cucumbers. I made friends with the tomatoes. We gave as many away as we kept too!
Fred took over making the cucumber, onion, and vinegar mixture that most of us enjoy. We learned to add tomatoes, chopped up in chunks, and the mixture made a great substitute for a salad.
Some of you younger marrieds may not know about this recipe, so here it is probably too late in the season.
• Peel and slice four or five cucumbers into a large bowl.
• Slice and dice a whole onion, preferably white. (a red onion will color the mixture).
• Add vinegar and water to the bowl and add sugar to your liking. The mixture should be strong but not overpowering, and the sugar should only tone down the vinegar so you don’t need much…perhaps five tablespoons. (yes you can substitute artificial sweeteners)
•Cover the cucumber, onion mixture and refrigerate. Add cucumbers and onions; even tomatoes whenever you choose.
Now that it is fall, I am glad, happy, content, joyous, and at peace with the grasshoppers.
All good things come to an end.
And next spring I will again be ready for the next garden!
My attitude will be expectant, and I will be nice to Fred.
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother.