This summer feels like it has flown by. It has been a great year for our garden with an abundance of green beans, okra, cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, onions, corn, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, and butternut squash. As with everything else, all good things do eventually come to an end. Or does it? We have all heard of the Circle of Life and this couldn’t be truer than on a farm. There is the circular pattern of morning, noon, afternoon, dusk, night, dawn, and back around to morning. There is the cyclical nature of the seasons. We find this in the patterns of birth and death with the gardens and livestock. We are at one of those transitions.
This is always a difficult time for our family. The kids are anxious to get school started and back into a routine, but we haven’t quite seen the end of the harvest of the garden. Our reconciling of these conflicting demands is to make the most of everything that is still available. We appreciate the work of various environmental groups, but our motivation is to a higher calling. We worship the God of all Creation rather than the created. He asks that as He provides for our needs that we be good stewards of those provisions. As farmers this is witnessed in finding a way to use everything.
As we start clearing the garden, there will be a use for everything. The last of the corn will be fed to the pigs. The cornstalks will be given to the cows. Remainders of the red tomatoes will be chopped and frozen for chili while the green ones will be made into green tomato relish (a first for our family). The tomato plants and other plants will be spread throughout the chicken yard. They will certainly enjoy the greens. As any remaining plants begin to decompose in the chicken yard, it will become a natural attraction for worms and bugs. These are excellent sources of protein for the chickens.
Our family will begin to look to fall. The harvest of the butternut squash, gathering and processing of apples, the growing of the turkeys, cooler temperatures, and the fresh tilled soil in the garden awaiting ashes from the woodburning stove and manure from the cows to enrich it for our spring planting which will be rolling around before we know it.