I don’t know anyone that likes weeding. It’s back-breaking, necessary work. Sure, there’s some satisfaction in a weed-free garden bed but it’s short-lived. The weeds are back almost immediately, it seems.
So today was weed the garden beds day. I didn’t get them all weeded – I only managed to weed two of them. It was overcast, which is good weeding weather, and it had to be done.
And it’s fine. Pulling weeds from around the lettuce and knowing I’d be eating it in a salad later created a sense of calm and purpose. I took a break around noon, cut enough lettuce to fill a big colander, pulled a couple of radish, and came in to enjoy a nourishing lunch. It’s the most basic luxury to have to pay attention to when it rains (or doesn’t) and to know that aside from the nutrients in the soil there’s just water and sunshine in your food. And no plastic waste.
Back to weeding… I always joke with my husband that grass only grows where I don’t want it to. It never seems happy to grow on the designated lawn area, it much prefers my garden and our driveway.
Other “weeds” – verbena, squash, and tomato that self seeded, were spared. It’s tough to pull plants I’ve actually bought/planted just because they are growing in an inopportune spot. I dug out some verbena and put them in a spot near the kitchen window where I can watch the monarch butterflies visit their vivid purple flowers this summer. And the squash and tomatoes… I have a suspicion the squash is actually pumpkins. Last year they took over the garden because I felt bad pulling them out. In the end they crowded out the butternut squash, which I won’t let happen twice.
And then there are the pretty weeds, like the wildflowers that grow in our fields. These pretty daisy-like flowers pictured above, buttercups, purple, red, and blue flowers… we mow around them.
I’ll leave you with a photo of our cat, who really enjoys watching all of the activity at the birdhouse you can see pictured. It is nestled in a giant beast of a climbing hydrangea that has taken over one wall of our garage and is adjacent to a raspberry patch that is trying to take over the west field. Smudge (the cat) may be aware that there is a nest with baby birds … and the constant coming and going is the parents feeding their little ones. Or maybe not.
I’ve always regarded Halloween as the last harvest, and the time to welcome visiting ancestors who journey back to check in for the night. Some years I set extra spaces at the table and set out some old photos. This year was nice for me, because usually I have to delay my Samhain supper and/or ritual work for after the trick-or-treaters have come and gone but since Covid made putting a bowl of candy with lights and decorations the expected norm here in suburbia this year, I was off the hook! I put out my bowl, lit up my little witch, and was free to observe my holiday.
Along with my traditional Halloween activities, this year we had a pile of pumpkins and squash, radish, final peppers and tomatoes to collect.
We had so many pumpkins volunteer this year – so many colors and designs on them – that I have spent the past couple of days cutting, peeling and cooking to make mash for cookies, breads, and pies. It turns out that if you throw your pumpkins and squash seeds in your compost you don’t need to plant them in a garden bed – they pop up all over the place. The difficulty was choosing which plants to keep since we weren’t sure what kind of squash each plant was – so we selected for the location they chose to grow in and got a mix.
This might seem like a lot of work but I have a recipe for bourbon pumpkin pie that I kept firmly in mind as I peeled. And since the seeds are the most nutrient-rich part of the pumpkin…
… we are drying them to roast later. I found that a bread board was a good way to dry them since they stick to paper towels, parchment, even plastic.
There may have been a small amount of halloween candy consumed to keep my strength up as part of this exercise. 🙂
We’ve made a few big pots of squash soup, which is a favorite around here, and some of what’s still waiting to be cooked is headed for the root cellar.
In all we’ve had a good harvest for the little plot of earth we grew vegetables in this year and I’m ready to eat squash and pie. Maybe I’ll add a little bourbon to keep warm!