I’m writing this at the end of a gorgeous sunset here, on the solstice, eating food we all grew together, and drinking a beer I made. I’m feeling rather validated by all of the endeavors of this community, at the moment.
The solstice is a funny time. I’ve been trying to grow most of my own food for a few years now, and so I increasingly tend to think of the year in Lean Times and Fat Times. The two circle each other, and while there are perhaps broader stretches which we might term one or the other (the difference, for example between late August and late February is one felt rather intently after the twentieth dinner-time variation of potatoes and Kale) they tend to come and go. This always begins to feel like a bit of a lean time. The spring veggies are being cleared; the last of the summer veggies are going in, but not yet close to harvest, and the fall veggies are still seedlings or seeds, yet to even become more than a vision and hope.
The spinach is gone, peppers are in. The mustard and arugula gone, beans soon to go in. The radishes are all but gone, between the joint efforts of us and the bugs, and the increasingly bitter first bed of lettuce is soon to follow suit to the compost pile, and while more will be planted, it will not be ready for some time. Perhaps if we had more space (and I more time) our succession plantings would be better organized. Alternately, if I had not give over half our space to vanity crops like tomatoes and peppers and sunflowers, we would have had more space to grow succession plantings of greens, but somehow I think no one will be questioning that decision come August. (Again, fat times and lean times; if you want the one, you must grapple with the other.)
So here we are, on the solstice; beautiful chard, kale, peas and raspberries are coming from the garden, cabbage is still a little ways off, beets are still a little way off, and the spinach, arugula, mustard and lettuces are either finished off or on their last legs. The tomatoes are trellised, the peppers are in, all the squash are in, the first round of beans are in, the corn is doubling daily, and the weeds are held at bay only by the courage of a handful of brave men and women. I have become no less grandiose in my writing.
Here we are, in a “lean” time, the comfort of fat times soon to follow.