Posted in Behind the Scenes, Indoor Musings

Pondering what to be thankful for in 2020

This year has been challenging to many folks on all sorts of levels the world over. Now that we’re a week away from Thanksgiving here in America, I realized I also had many things to be grateful for this year.

It’s hard to be grateful when things have been such a mess. Yet when I look back, there are some things I can remember that gladden my heart despite sadder times that typically overshadowed the good.

One regret that does have some benefits this year is how small our kitchen garden turned out to be compared to last year, and how poorly so many things we tried to plant this year went. We did learn some harsh lessons, but we also learned to just be glad we weren’t depending on those failed attempts to keep food on the table and thus in our bellies.

Speaking of eating the fruit of our labors…we just got around to eating one of the two butternut squash pictured in the window above. I took that picture on October 29th of last year. I’m still amazed it not only lasted this long, but was absolutely delicious in the beef stew we had just yesterday. Slowly I’m getting a better handle on seed and harvest storage as each year passes. Deep down, sometimes when I succeed I still feel like it was just luck. I think when I manage to repeat some successes consistently, I won’t feel that way and will feel more confident instead.

Still, despite the “oh noes!” just in the garden this year, we managed to do some trading with another family. They are trying to add more variety to their own kitchen garden at their recently acquired home. We gave them a few berry canes and burdock roots (one of them is constantly exploring new foods and drinks to make–the roots are for an ale recipe they want to try) in return for some cow manure they had acquired that went straight into our compost. It is still taking time to find our tribe here, as it were, but we are making headway and don’t feel as isolated as when we first moved here. Seems funny to be writing that in this time of pandemic and social distancing, but it’s still true despite that as well.

What still makes so little sense to me looking back is how we just didn’t seem to have time to do as much, which seems crazy when all sorts of folks were suddenly taking up hobbies or what not as they sequestered themselves. Yet, with my partner being an essential worker who has done his own share of extra hours this year, I feel a bit of guilt in that I didn’t manage to make up for some of the time he simply could not give to our garden this year. I think I’m more bothered with that than he is, but fortunately we were not as dependent as we were in years prior on what food we could produce. Also, I’m trying to be grateful for what we did manage–and whether that’s to assuage my guilty feelings or not…I’m not sure.

I still smile a bit thinking of when I found the ornamental sage grew back this year, which made no sense because I didn’t protect it at all last winter and we are definitely not in a friendly zone for it! This year, I did make sure to give it cover and leaves as I also did for the rosemary starter we bought this year that I hope might make it til spring. The lavender is still thriving, so it also was covered just after we finally transplanted all three blueberry bushes to their new spot. I can’t even recall as I write this if we did that in late September or early October, but if I took the time to look at some of the window views, it might be more obvious. I may try to divide the lavender in the spring and move some to the front of the house.

We did make more progress on the rest of the garden overall, but again, not as much as we’d hoped. I did manage to ID some more plants this year, though unfortunately, two of the tree types turned out to be invasives which at least explained their persistence in existing. Still, they had to go, and we have more still that we will have to do come spring to make sure all the roots are indeed gone. Still, progress is exactly that and I’m content with the fact that we did get further in other aspects of the garden overall than we did last year. Perhaps that was the trade off, which hadn’t occurred to me until just now. Hrm.

At any rate, now that the weather has cooled and we’ve done just about all we can before the deeper cold of winter sets in, I’ll be back working on this site to both fill in bits I meant to before as well as start preparing for next year.

Whatever challenges you’ve faced this year, I hope that you too have some things to be grateful for as well. I also sincerely hope your gardening efforts were more successful than ours! I hope to be catching up reading what all of you have been up to over the course of this winter.

Care to share thoughts on this?