This weekend Ben and I shut down the gardens for the season. This time of year is always bitter sweet – you gardeners out there know what I mean. There is a sense of accomplishment and also of relief for being done for the season. And, at the same time, there is a tug of sadness. The fresh fruits and vegetables are done for the season, and (at least in Colorado) a cold winter is just around the corner. Our harvest this weekend was ample – it should keep us in vegetables for the remainder of the month and maybe a bit longer. We have pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies (more on that later), potatoes for stews, fresh greens, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
Not all of this season went according to plan though. Our bees, for the second year in a row, did not produce enough honey for us to extract. Our peach tree, in its first solid year of production was leveled by a black bear, our grapes barely produced anything, and our elderberries didn’t produce at all this year. On the other hand we’ve had tons of eggs – our girls are egg laying machines. We harvested a legit crop of apples and made homemade applesauce, had tons of currants and gooseberries, and even saw some success with our newly transplanted raspberries and strawberries.
Food production is humbling and glorious. There are little miracles, little dramas, and little victories throughout the season. There are occasionally big miracles, big dramas, and big victories, but mostly it’s the quiet unfolding that keeps me mesmerized. This evening was a highlight of closing out the year. Tonight’s dinner was ham from a local farm, my homemade “Cajun” potato salad made with our eggs and our potatoes (recipe below), and fresh sautéed kale from the garden. Simple. Delicious. Nutritious. And yes, a bit of pride served on the side for food on the table paid for in our sweat equity.
To all you gardeners out there quietly winding down the year, know that I understand your mixed emotions. This year may be done, but the promise of a garden again keeps us warm through winter’s gales. Enjoy the bounty of the season, and take time to honor your work and your vision. You brought something forward that didn’t exist previously, and it was beautiful in its time. Now is the time for rest. Or, maybe, it’s time to go make potato salad. Either way, life is good and there is abundance. Enjoy!
Christine’s Almost World Famous Cajun Potato Salad
6 boiled potatoes, diced
6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
4 stalks celery, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/4 cup homemade mayonnaise (or store bought all natural mayonnaise)
1 Tbs. dry yellow mustard
2 Tbs. white vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
2 heaping Tbs. Rajin’ Cajun Sweet Jalapeno Relish
Tony’s Creole seasoning to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Combine cooked potatoes, celery, and onions in mixing bowl. Mix next five ingredients (mayonnaise, dry mustard, white vinegar, sugar, sweet jalapeno relish) and add to potatoes, celery, and white onion mixture. Mix well. Transfer mixture to shallow dish (baking dish works well) and top with sliced eggs. Sprinkle on Tony’s Creole Season to taste; top with several dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce. This dish is a perfect balance of spice and sweet – not hot and oh so delicious!