|Me, carrying the weight of the watermelon|
on my shoulders.
I’ve been dealing with all of it the way I usually dealt with climbing mountains on the PCT: keep walking, stop for lots of snacks, cry every once in a while, and keep walking. Do the bare minimum to keep your life running, and eventually things will get better. I can’t say I’m over the mountain pass yet, but at least I’m continuing to walk.
Anyway... homestead updates!
One of the biggest bright spots this month has been the garden. I can barely keep up with the tomatoes (I’m making and freezing so much tomato sauce!), and I’ve started harvesting butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, peppers, herbs, elderberries, sweet potatoes, huge tasty watermelons, and the occasional onion. My neighbor gave us some apples, so I made apple chips, which I’ve been eating incessantly. Our dehydrator is running almost every night. Also, I picked a couple pumpkins from my garden, roasted them, and turned them into pumpkin pie. I think that’s kind of unbelievably cool.
|Sugar pie pumpkins and apple chips|
Cutting, cooking, and processing these vegetables gives me something to focus on and helps me lose myself in the rhythms of the tactile sensations, which is good when my head is spinning— nothing like veggies to keep you grounded.
|Elderberries, which got boiled down into syrup, an immune system booster.|
The chickies are doing fine, and Bobbie Dylan even started laying again! We took down the fence that had previously divided our yard in half, and the chickens have enjoyed exploring the tomato and Jerusalem artichoke forest, as well as gobbling up squash bugs (we are infested with them) and managing to find the, like, two things in the yard that they’re not supposed to eat and eating them.
|Popcorn! We haven't tried popping it yet, though.|
Pretty much all of our fruit trees are struggling, which is pretty stressful. I’ve spent many days staring at the leaves with a copy of What’s Wrong with My Fruit Garden? in my hands, clicking my tongue and fretting and trying to find pictures that line up with what I’m seeing (while the chickies run around me and try their darndest to get me to step on them). The remaining hazel has leap hoppers, the nectarine has spider mites, the cherry is covered in powdery mildew, and I can’t figure out what plague is sweeping through my pome fruit (apple and pears). Fireblight? Pear slug? More DEATH?
When vegetables die I shrug my shoulders, but trees are an investment in more ways than one, and I want them to do well. I’m trying to catch up on all the information about organic disease control, but it’s a steep learning curve, and I hope I can figure out what I need to do before it’s too late.
|Zach harvesting sweet potatoes|
Despite life (and the garden) being out of control, I’m grateful for the abundance of summer, the cuteness of my chickens, and the fact that life goes on even when I don’t think I can take one more step. Be well, my friends!