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To Not Feel Acquainted with Boredom


Recent days have felt equally restful and productive. Small tastes of snow here and there, plenty of rain, too. Adam broadforked the garlic beds two weekends ago, despite damp soil. I came in behind him and raked the beds smooth. Then we waited. Just two or three days of sunny weather would dry things enough for planting, but those days never came. The garden has yet to dry out. We’ll be planting garlic this weekend regardless; there is no time to be particular about soil dampness at this point. 

One thing I’ve observed since living here, is that people - men in particular - never seem to inquire about whether or not you’re a hunter. They just assume you are, and jump right into asking how’s hunting going this year? Our new UPS driver introduces himself as Keith. Within a few minutes I learn he has sole custody of his four year old daughter. He seems rightfully proud of his little girl and his dedication to her. He tells me he loves coming up to the ridge, that he has many memories here as a boy. In fact, it was his grandfather that sold this land to my husband’s grandmother more than half a century ago. He tells me that right in the very field we were standing, where our house now resides, his grandfather would take a twelve point buck each autumn. I just shook my head. I think he could tell by the look on my face that we do not see those same yields today. I am still acquainting myself with the differences between hunting here and in Connecticut. Sugar maples fill this hillside, which do a wonderful job of feeding humans, but they are not a food source for deer. We have no oak trees in this region, a primary food for deer further south. We add nut trees to the landscape, but those will mostly be enjoyed by animals in a lifetime separate from my own. 

A man came to inspect our oil tank per the order of a new Vermont law. The inspection took all of sixty seconds, the conversation about hunting, power outages, and deer camp took another thirty minutes. This man shared that he went ahead and bought himself a camp over in New Hampshire, just south enough to ensure plenty of acorns for the deer population. He primarily hunts there now, and has already taken one deer with bow so far this year. 

While the deer may not be as plentiful here, I do appreciate the culture of how’s hunting going this year? It feels familiar. 


I intended to write a proper end of season garden post, to share the highs and lows as well as lessons learned, but I see the calendar is quickly ticking by and my time for writing here is never what I hope it will be. To sum things up: the garden this year was unbeleivably generous to the point of overwhelm. Every day I weeded, fed, watered, observed, and gathered. I kept pretty good notes and records and am grateful for the information it provided, with so little effort on my part. Weighing and recording harvests is more about discipline than added work. It took maybe an extra minute or two and nearly every time I set a basket of produce on the scale, I wondered why I’d never done this in prior seasons. It is such good baseline info to have. So, in a nutshell, we grew over 1,100 pounds of food in a 45’ x 80’ second year garden. I feel pleased with that. In time, the soil will improve and in turn so will our yields. But gosh, there's really nothing to complain about. Our greatest pest pressure was Colorado Potato Beetle, which were hand picked in both beetle and larvae stage daily without fail. We would not have had a potato harvest without hand picking. All brassicas were protected with row cover, which allowed us to grow more broccoli and cauliflower than ever before. Gorgeous heads, free from cabbage worms. Peppers started the season strong and I was feeling optimistic, but they just kind of petered out and failed to fruit plentifully. Research suggests it might be attributed to intense heat and drought right at the point of flowering, prohibiting decent fruit set. I’m not sure. Peppers have always been such a garden staple harvest for us, there is much to learn about growing them in this new climate. There were plenty more highs and lows, but to be honest, as immeasurably grateful as I am for this year’s garden, I am completely over the work of it all, and even my words on the matter feel tired.

Instead, I revel in the wonder of dozens upon dozens of colorful jars, gallons upon gallons of frozen fruits and vegetables, and a cold room filled with potatoes, winter squash, onion, garlic, carrots, and ferments. 


Today I trimmed dried leaves and roots from the last of the onions and brought the many bulbs down to the cool basement for storage. Aside from planting garlic this weekend, the onions were my final task. Oh! Except for shelling dried beans. I need to do that, too. And get all of our cooking herbs from stems to jars. And if there is a deer or two to process... well, I suppose we are never quite done. That is okay. Having purposeful, seasonal projects helps me to feel alive. I am not after a feeling of busyness for the sake of busyness, it’s just nice to enjoy the work at hand, and to not feel acquainted with boredom. 

Snow is falling gently, and the woodstove has our little home so toasty, even the furniture feels warm to the touch. It’s been a good day here, I hope things are going well for you, too.