Seasons on the Homestead: I Don’t Even Know Anymore.

I’ve had four ripe tomatoes so far. Usually, by this time, I’m on my third batch of canning salsa but this year things are different. Things are slow. Painstakingly slow.

Earlier in the year, health and recovery were slow in coming after a bout with the flu.

Then heartache was slow in healing after my best friend’s dad passed away suddenly, and a month later, my grandpa.

Then the rains came down (and the floods came up). It was a wet, cool spring. We were slow in planting. Plants were slow on growing.

But lawh, the mosquitoes didn’t miss a beat, did they? Pretty sure this was their best year yet!

It rained in May. June. July. It’s August and it’s still raining.

The slugs are slowly destroying my beans, tomatoes, and oh guess what – we have zero cucumber plants because the slugs ate those down to nothing. Slow slugs sure are quick to destroy a garden.

The produce is slow in ripening. Just this morning I saw my first carrot top sprout of the entire growing season. I might actually get one carrot this year.

We took a two-week road trip across the country – which was amazing and I’ll have to write about it later, for my own sake if anything – and while I enjoyed it so immensely, once we got home I felt like I was a month behind in everything.

And I felt even slower to catch up.

Hardly a handful of green beans and only one serving of peas are stored up for our winter feasting. I planted triple the peas this year and got less than a third of last year’s harvest. Green beans are ripening a handful at a time, every few days, so it’s hard to get them stored in serving-size portions to have with a meal.

Now we’re into our first week of homeschool and Monday I was SO EXCITED to start the school year, and Wednesday I’m checking my calendar asking how many weeks until we’re done in May…

(Not really, we are loving homeschool so far this year, but this morning we all caught the struggle bus instead of the homeschool bus. Thankful tomorrow is a new day.)

Saturday we’re processing meat birds, which has seemed like it’s taken a long time in arriving but now suddenly I’m not at all ready and need more time to prepare everything. Most especially, make room in my freezer.

This part of August is supposed to be a mad rush – get all the things harvested as quickly as they ripen, get all the ripened harvest preserved as quickly as you bring it inside, get all the jars washed and all the freezer space organized, and get all the coffee you can handle because you cannot sleep in August for all the work that needs to get done!

And here I have four ripe tomatoes.

Four.

I don’t know what to do with myself. There is still so much that needs to get done. I need to pick chokecherries and make jelly, I need to buy peaches and get them canned, I need to get stews and soups made and put in the pantry for those winter days we know are coming sooner than we want to think about…

But I don’t have what I usually have by this time of year and instead of improvising, I’m finding myself stuck in a bit of paralyzing wonder. No cucumbers? How will I make dill pickles for the kids to snack on this winter? No carrots? I can’t make beef stew without carrots! No potatoes, because they flooded? I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT POTATO CHEESE SOUP!

So I’m not sure what season it is right now. It’s supposed to be summer, but it’s not near hot enough or productive for me to call it that. Fall is supposed to be around the corner, though given the cool, wet year we’ve had so far, I’m guessing it’s already here. I’m supposed to have a pantry stocked with homegrown goodness, but I’ve got empty jars sitting idly behind the cupboard doors.

It’s a season of struggle. And frankly, of sadness.

It’s been a tough year. A strange year. A daggum wet year.

The thing about seasons is they prepare you for growth. I’ve been flat-out tilled underground this season, but I suppose can only expect that to mean I’m going to blossom like nobody’s ever seen before.

I’m not sure what season it is, but when I get my head on straight, I’m going to be sure to enjoy it and not let the slugs get me down.

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