My girls haven’t wanted to play “mud pie kitchen” all summer long.  But, the shift in season has them racing outdoors each day before they’ve even gotten dressed, gathering ingredients for their little back porch kitchen.

I on the other hand, spent the summer neglecting my garden.  At one point I wondered if I even liked gardening anymore.  Looking outside at the mess of weeds only caused me stress, so I mostly ignored it.  But, after two days straight of working to get it under control and ready for winter, I realize that I do still love my garden.  Of course I do!  I’ve been growing things since before I even had a proper place to do so.  My high school aptitude test predicted farming as the best career choice for me.  While farming is not on my agenda right now, growing and tending plants is part of who I am.  But, it’s okay to take a break sometimes, to focus on other things, and to re-evaluate.

Last fall, gardening was impossible for me because I was at the end of a difficult pregnancy, so I am really excited to have put in a fall garden this year, even if I was late to do it.  We have all of the beds cleared and planted with either cover crops or vegetables.  I planted a mixture of buckwheat, crimson clover, and turnips as a cover.  Buckwheat is quick to flower and loved by bees, so I am hoping that it will before first frost.  If not, oh well.  I plant crimson clover every fall and look forward to it blooming the following spring, providing a great nectar source for our bees.  I’ve never planted turnips as part of a cover crop mix, and I was on the late side getting them planted.  They are quick to grow, and hopefully we’ll be able to harvest some late this fall.  Two beds of garlic were planted, along with carrots, beets, cabbage, and collards.  I already had the seeds and figured it wouldn’t hurt to plant them, even if frost ruins my plans.

I should have taken a good before picture of the garden-it was an absolute disaster, with nearly every bed overgrown with weeds.  Now everything looks bare, but as the clover and buckwheat start germinating over the next few days, it will green up.

I’m happy again to look out the window at my garden.

p.s.  I took a photo of my garden once a week all season long in 2012.  Here’s a link to that series of photos, all in one post.

The end

We have a tradition of walking down to the water at almost dusk, playing on the beach, cooking hot dogs over a fire, and then walking the mile and a half back through the woods with flashlights.  This tradition was born out of our inability to get ourselves together and get out the door in a timely fashion.  Even after we are all loaded in the van, people start running back to the house for this or that.  We sigh and groan and roll our eyes at ourselves.  Sometimes we get really frustrated, and start passing the blame around.  “You’re always the last one out the door!”  (This is said to me.)  I reply, “Yeah, but as soon as I got in the van, you realized you had forgotten something!”

I guess this particular tradition has come to an end though, as we were visited on the beach by a ranger on this night who informed us that the park closes at sunset (in the past we were told 10 p.m. and the signs say the same).  He drove his truck back up to the entrance and returned with a fifteen passenger van to drive us back to the parking area.  Because it was dark, I don’t think he really realized what he was getting himself into.  Loading all of our stuff and our family into that van and then unloading it again a few minutes later was a little ridiculous.  He was friendly though, and didn’t seem to mind too much.  I asked him to send my apologies home to his wife, since we kept him at work late.

(My favorite, close to us, park.  Caledon State Park.)

p.s.  Job’s new trick is the fake pout face as seen in the series of three photos of him crawling then sitting there being silly.  Silas had a fake pout face too, which eventually turned into a real pout face which he now sports on a regular basis.  I’ve suggested to the older kids that maybe we don’t actually want to teach Job to pout.  My words most likely fell on deaf ears.  Oh, and the shoes–several asked to see my new magenta shoes.  I asked for gray shoes.  The importance of fit over fashion was gently explained to me.  Last week, A friend commented with what I suspect was a touch of sarcasm, “They’re so you, Ginny!”