During a season where the work needed to deal with harvesting can be overwhelming, it’s easy to forget gratitude for the abundance.
Today after letting the chickens out for the day, I wandered over to the shiitake mushroom logs we started in the spring and discovered two new mushrooms had popped up. I squealed in delight and immediately sent a couple pictures to Karl. We collected our first-ever homegrown mushroom just a couple days prior. I cut the two new beauties off the logs and headed into the house.
We had to bring two extra tables into our entryway this fall to hold the season’s goods. On one was a box full of honey frames waiting to be extracted. We extracted once already this fall, and just when we were about to put away our equipment for the year, discovered one of our hives had up and left, so we brought their life’s work, the bounty they left behind, into the house- a surprise honey harvest. Not a harvest of the best of circumstances… but a harvest we treasured, no less.
Next to the honey frames sat a huge box full of garlic from a friend- I planted all I could and the rest would be stored for eating throughout the winter. And just next to that were bowls and bowls of the beans I’d been collecting over the past month as they dried in the garden.
On the floor were four huge pails of organic apples we gleaned just yesterday from a local defunct orchard.
And next to those sat two beautiful, rare, heirloom pumpkins that I planned to save the seeds from. I started them in the house last March and nervously watched them grow all summer, taking care to cushion them with straw, and helping their vines to dance in and out of the rows of kale. I watched the weather for the last couple weeks, covering the pumpkins every night before a light frost, and finally bringing them in at the very last minute before a harder freeze. I started with five seeds, only two of which germinated, and now I would be able to save hundreds from these two pumpkins, not to mention taste something incredibly rare, and help save this variety from extinction.
In the kitchen simmered a pot of homegrown chicken stock– made entirely from our homestead. The chicken was one that was hatched right here- a 13-week old rooster that was becoming mean and no longer welcome. The onions, carrots, celery, and herbs that flavored the broth were all grown right here on this land.
It’s so easy to trudge through the season and see nothing but the work. An entire year’s worth of planning, preparation, and work was all coming together, and in that moment I was reminded exactly why we do this thing we call homesteading.
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