Planning the garden, yes.
Placing those full-of-promise tender plants in the ground? Definitely.
Weeding? Call me crazy, but I love it.
Mulching with grass clippings? Certainly.
Hoeing? Oh. I forgot about hoeing. Okay, not so much.
But putting up the fruit of my labors? Not quite the same level of enthusiasm.
Maybe it's the way it all seems to pile on in August, year after year - tomatoes, peaches, tomatoes, corn, tomatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and this year, cucumbers by the (five gallon) bucketful. Oh, and tomatoes.
Maybe it's that I've been doing it for 30+ years...
Funny that it's taken my 30+ years to sort this out, to realize that if I'm going to keep on canning and freezing the abundant results that follow the planning/planting/weeding/harvesting that I love, I'm going to have to find some ways to embrace these moments too; I'd like to do more than "gut it out" and survive, I'd like to find great joy in small blessings.
So I've been experimenting with some ways to enjoy being where my feet are in August...by taking those feet outdoors a little more! While the recipe calls for nine cups of chopped onions, it doesn't say that I have to stand indoors at a windowless basement sink to prepare those onions. So, I stood by the garden cart, warm sunshine on my back, birdsong overhead, and prepared those myriad onions for chopping. (And the side benefit? No tears streaming down my face from the wild burn of onion vapor. Apparently the wide open space gave those little droplets plenty of room to disperse!)
"Into all our lives,
in many simple, familiar, homely ways,
God infuses this element of joy
from the surprises of life
which unexpectedly brighten our days
and fill our eyes with light...
The success we were not counting on,
the blessing we were not trying after,
the strain of music,
in the midst of drudgery,
the beautiful morning picture or sunset glory thrown in as we pass to or from our daily business,
the unsought word of encouragement or expression of sympathy,
the sentence that meant for us more than the writer or speaker thought,
these and a hundred others that everyone's experience can supply are instances of what I mean.
You may call it accident or chance - it often is;
You may call it human goodness - it often is;
but always, always call it God's love, for that is always in it.
These are the overflowing riches of His grace,
these are His free gifts."
-warm sunshine with low humidity.
-delicate lavender basil blossoms.
-firm, near-perfect tomatoes in my bucket.
-tearless onion work in fresh air.
-fresh basil smell and a nose to smell it.
-jars of pizza sauce waiting for winter.
-And, bee hum, steady, ready company for ... Hummin'B