I sure do love this time of year!
The leaves are changing colors, the garden harvest is in full swing, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and temperatures are really starting to drop!
We even woke up to our first major frost this morning.
I have to admit though, it seemed a heck of a lot colder last night as I was squishing and squelching my way around the muddy old garden, barefoot…
Now, I realize that as you’re reading this, you’re probably shaking your head and wondering: What the heck is wrong with this guy?! Why on earth would a grown man be running around barefoot in the mud?! Especially at this time of year!
Or maybe you aren’t wondering that at all.
Maybe you’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m a bit “odd” — and this is just par for the course for me.
Honestly, you probably wouldn’t be too far off if you did!
But one way or another, I actually did have a pretty good reason for freezing my toes off in the mud. (At least it seemed like a good reason at the time…)
Y’see, when Lindsey and I saw that the weather forecast was calling for frost, we decided that it probably wasn’t worth all the effort to go out there and cover things this late in the season.
Our garden has had a good run this year; the freezer is bursting at the seems with frozen veggies, the cupboards are stuffed to the brim with dehydrated goods, and we’re almost out of empty mason jars! It won’t be the end of the world if we cut things off a little early. (Besides, two of our tarps are currently being used to cover hay for our steer and goats).
Instead, we decided to just pick all of our warm weather crops (the tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons), and then let nature run its course.
There was one slight problem, however.
And lots of it.
We’ve been getting quite a bit of rain the last couple of weeks (5 inches in 12 days, as a matter of fact!), so the ground is totally saturated — and let me tell ya, when our heavy clay soil gets wet like that, it gets STICKY!
And that’s why I was squishing around barefoot last night; I had to get stuff harvested, but I didn’t want to get my shoes all gunked up.
I hate feeling like I’m hauling around 5 or 10 pounds of mud on the soles of my shoes — with more accumulating with every step I take!
My idea worked pretty well too; my feet might be frozen solid, but all the warm weather crops are gathered in — and there definitely isn’t any mud on my shoes! 😉
Now, as much as I love bringing in a good harvest like that, there’s always something kinda sad about watching your plants die off for the year. I’ve been tending those sprawling bushes and vines for the past 7 months or so, and they’ve kinda turned into old friends in a way.
They always do.
I really grow to love those plants…
I’ll be totally honest with you though — I’m exhausted. Lindsey and I have been running a marathon with all of the stuff we’ve been bottling and preserving lately, so it’s kinda nice to see that the end is in sight.
But the battle definitely isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot!
There are still beets, turnips, onions, carrots, and potatoes to be dug; celery to be cut, blanched, and put up; and dry beans to be picked, threshed, and winnowed — not to mention the grape juice that we’ll be bottling tomorrow and the mountain of apples sitting in our basement… (We made about 3 bushels of them into applesauce on Saturday, which means that we only have 6 more bushels left! 😉 )
So there’s still a sizable amount of work to be done, but like I said, the end is in sight!
It won’t be long until all our gardening/food preservation projects come to an end, and we’re left with another quiet winter to just rest and relax and catch our breath.
I have to admit, I never really cared too much for winter before we moved out here to the One Acre Lott. I mean, I didn’t hate winter, but I never actually looked forward to it. It just always seemed so long and dreary… But the more time goes by, and the more we try to connect with our land, the more I realize that winter is such a godsend!
By the time we’ve run ourselves ragged trying to keep up with all our spring, summer, and fall projects (aka “planting, growing, and harvesting”), here comes winter to save the day!
I tell ya, I really am in awe of it all! The rhythms of nature just seem to work so perfectly — and I can’t help but think that this is how it was meant to be. It’s almost like we were meant to live our lives in harmony with nature.
(A novel thought, I know.)
I do realize, however, that this lifestyle definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea — and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
I just know that I’m sure loving every minute of it!
It seems like I learn something new about life and something new about God every time I step out into the yard. And each day just seems so much more fulfilling when when we try and live our lives in harmony with the land, rather than disconnected from it.
Hence, the barefooted adventures in the muddy garden… 😉