An August Slice of Life


The Echinacea is a delight.

Especially to the bumblebees.

A return kayak expedition to Grafton Pond

finds us watching a loon family of mama, papa, and baby. We had never heard a loon parent’s “doowop doowop” call to a child before. We found our afternoon of watching mama and papa loon fishing out front of our island spot while making the occasional reassuring call to fuzzy brown baby loon near shore very tender.

Here just one of family swims by.

The kayak expedition also found us the Flower blossoms we had come for, Wintergreen.

Back at the farm, Lizzy just arrived home from her summer job at the Putney School’s summer Arts camp. She’ll be back to the Putney School in the fall to teach history (making her the third history teacher in our family of six right now. The dogs greeted her enthusiastically and have already set off for a run in the hills with her.

Note that in the background you can see Jim’s shed is already doing serious duty. Emily and Sophie stacked two cords of wood into the shed last week and have the newly arrived third cord to do this week.

And yes, it really is THAT dry here. This summer we have gone from too dry to too wet to too dry again.


Some things bloom with abandon anyways. Here the Golden Glow Helianthus begins its late summer fireworks.


Scabiosa or Pincushion Flowers fill the cut Flower bed with lovely blossoms for bouquets in the house and office.

Rose hips are ripening as are the peaches, pears, plums, and apples. The blueberries need picking every thirty minutes and there is MORE broccoli to process….. but best of all, for those in need of a prince, one awaits in the pool outside the office door.


Once Upon a Time

There is a lovely flood of produce from the gardens right now. Several days ago, basket on basket of broccoli needed to be processed. And now today it’s bushels of beans.


As I cut up all the broccoli, washed then steamed it, and finally packed it into bags for the freezer with my much used Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook at my side,

I couldn’t help thinking about how time consuming a process it is to be even a half baked localvore like I am.

You must have noticed by now how much I love harvesting all the things growing in the gardens and how much pleasure I get from big crops of this or that berry or squash. Though some tried, no one was ever able to take the peasant soul out of me. I am so glad of that because my daily life is right here in these gardens. And as this is where I am, it is a good thing I find such happiness in a large bowl of pie cherries or a freezer full of broccoli.

Yet even living here, right smack dab in the gardens and loving the whole process, it takes a lot of time to keep up with handling and preserving the flood of wonderful food this time of year.

As my own boss, I have the flexibility to spend a morning with the broccoli when the broccoli needs me to do so. I can structure my day so it can be a fun job versus one done at midnight after other things that had to come first. Our culture so vastly under appreciates what’s involved in food production that someone asking their boss for the morning off to freeze broccoli would probably be considered odd. I am sorry that for most people food production would be a joyless task hard to accommodate in an already packed life. I understand that food has been such a cheap commodity in the past few decades that no time is allocated in our culture for growing or harvesting it. Most of us have to spend our time earning money for things that cost more.

Perhaps as fuel prices drive up the price of all the cheap food imported to us from all over the planet, the economics will prove motivation enough for more of us to grow some of our own food, but I would like to see a world that was structured to carve out much more time for food growing and harvesting so that it could be a joyful activity not just an increasingly necessary one.

I don’t want everyone to have to return to growing broccoli as a tiresome necessity. In my dream world, people would have the time to love growing food. They would get a chance to discover it to be a joyful even miraculous activity connecting us to earth and to the ceaseless miracle of seeds that become plants that nourish our bodies and souls.

Okay, so I can dream……