Let me tell you a bit about this squash. It is called Autumn Frost and I thought it was time to introduce her to you. She's a beauty and the texture of the fruit is similar to a butternut (smooth and sweet). This squash stores really well. Try it this week (available through our online store). I think the Honey Sage Roasted squash recipe would be a nice one to try with it, and a Butternut Squash Soup would hit the spots on a cold Fall evening.
It felt like quite a push to get the things done on the farm that felt important before this big rain. I feel grateful that we have been able to water consistently throughout this dry season (unlike farms on the Sunshine Coast who have been struggling with water rations). I am so glad that we did not have to live through too much smoke haze this summer, the air quality that we are experiencing this week would not have been welcomed in the height of the season. In the extreme weather we are experiencing it is hard to know how to prepare well for each season. Each year we want to do what we can to mitigate some of the things that are being thrown our way. Yesterday we were able to get a good portion of our field chisel plowed with a plow we loaned from another farm and a tractor we loaned from another farm (grateful for farming friends). The hope is that this will help soil compaction and drainage problems. It sounded worth a try.
A reflection from Denise
Poised on the edge of ugliness,
a flower whose petals
are turning brown.
I never liked
to keep them—a word of farewell
discreetly whispered, and out they go,
the discolored water after them,
the vase to be scrubbed.
A few flowers
dry into straw-crisp comeliness
without fetor. But
beauty is balanced upon
the poignance of brevity.
. . .
“Nothing gold can stay,” Johnny recites from a Robert Frost poem in the novel The Outsiders. I thought of it this week when a customer lamented the fleetingness of peaches and nectarines and another customer worried the lettuce mix would soon be gone. (“I’m addicted,” he said. “I have to have it.”) A few years ago, when I felt all hope was lost in a world gone mad (not that everything’s sorted and righted itself as I write), activist and journalist Rebecca Solnit reminded me that it’s hopeful to remember that “everything changes,” both the good and the bad. The garden with its flowers and vegetables is a perfect example of this impermanence, “beauty balanced upon/the poignance of brevity.”
My grandson and I recited a list of fruits we’ve enjoyed this summer: strawberries, then raspberries, blueberries and now, oh glory, even when they grow on invasive vines, blackberries. “Watermelon!” he cried and then his face fell. “All done now.” We ate prune plums from his backyard tree, enjoyed peaches and nectarines that dripped down our faces and chins. And just like that, they were done.
We sat quiet for a moment, lamenting our losses. The sun was waning; rain is forecasted for Friday. Then his eyes lit up. “Apples?” he suggested hopefully. And after a moment, he fairly shouted, “And pears!”
Each of these beautiful gifts of the west coast comes and goes in its place in the cycle of the garden year. Even the long-anticipated tomatoes, most of us agree, sighing. “I’m not ready for squash,” I said to a customer, who had piled her basket high with every variety. “I’ve been waiting for them,” they said eagerly, anticipating squash curry for dinner. Here’s a wonder. We live in a part of the world with four distinct seasons. The garden produces according to the soil tended to and the seeds planted by Paul and Angela and their team, fails and thrives depending on the rain and the sun that attend the growing, and then dies back to give way to compost, feeding the land even as it lies fallow. The seasons remind us to savour each bite, take in each colour and texture, smell each scent, in the here and now. And then winter comes to give the land and the farmers a much-needed rest before beginning all over again in the spring. It’s splendid, isn’t it? Beauty balanced upon brevity.
. . .
Flowers of straw,
everlasting, are winter makeshifts
pleasant to see, but not to touch.
Their voice is a faint crackling under the hand.
By spring the settled
dust is dull
and someone brings in
posies of fragrance from the meadows,
violets, the forgotten, now-to-be-known-freshly
dew is on them,
what could one ever
desire but to sink with closed eyes
into their cold, sweet, brief,
Poem excerpts are from Denise Levertov’s “A Woman Pacing Her Room, Rereading a Letter, Returning Again and
Again to Her Mirror”
Market days are about selling vegetables, welcoming neighbours, chatting about what we’ll eat this week and seeing the joy of kids heading out to the goats. But today was overwhelmingly about kindness. I was so touched by kindness towards me and others. As I experienced it, I became more aware of it around me. Kindness was the gift of this week.
It was the gift of baked goodies, the enthusiasm of a young boy for beautiful & fresh veggies, the warm comments from so many people and the hand-dyed cloth blowing gently in the breeze (just to name a few). Thank you.
I was reminded of a poem Denise has shared with me previously. Try reading it aloud:)
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
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