the kitchens are a busy place this time of year with all the food preservation and daily meal making, definitely no time for superfluous items. luckily i have some support staff. not afraid of butter. all about desert.
i am afraid if i tell you this story you will truly think me insane. but, i am going to tell you anyway. these late august days around here are the final push, the last leg of the marathon growing season. we work to get our fall plantings established while still maintaining and preserving the flow of summer fruits. it can be a well timed, fast moving dance with windows of opportunity sometimes closing before you knew they were open. this year, the rain is pouring on our august and we are jumping in there to do our typical season’s work over puddles. but none of this makes me crazy, just busy.
we had a basically dry week last week, one that saw us getting many of our fall plantings in order. when the week drew to a close and we needed to harvest and prepare for delivery, we lamented the rain that loomed in the forecast. the usual saturday unfolded, awoke at 3 am, packed last minute items into our van, woke the children and pulled out of the driveway at 3:45. we worked the market until 1:00, packed up and headed across town. we had some add-ons this day. paul was doing a gardening consultation on the west side of and i delivered roving to the local lovely shop Haus of Yarn. the day was a huge success, but we didn’t pull back into the farm driveway until 6:15. i put an exhausted toddler to bed and checked the weather. heavy rains were coming at dark and paul and i looked at each other.
“what needs to be done to ready those beds for fall planting?”
neither one of us wanted to be the one to push the other over the edge, but that cool, end of a long day beer didn’t taste so good knowing that we would lose the chance to have that ground ready. another drenching rain could set us back…. who knows how long?
so we headed out, cleared and tilled 2 beds in the final moments of our longest day. job done, but you have to admit, that is a little crazy.
and if this story did not convince you i am wacky, i did wake up the next day and made both homemade sriracha and ketchup.
now you know the truth. but today does mark the end of august….
Down here, that means it is hotter than ever and the ragweed, ironweed and eupatorium are towering and swaying their flowers over our heads. The air is like a wall of water. Threats of rain don’t mean much. We’re already soaked.
None of us are sad to see the tomatoes begin to decline. We’ve been drenched in their abundance, unable to get them to market in time to be used, unable to pick them all before the hot wet days crack their tender skins. They do not get eaten, but there is no waste here. They get thrown to the chickens. They fertilize the fields.
Each year, we grow new varieties as “trials”, just because they sound good. Just because we’re curious. Sometimes there are some real winners in there. Sometimes, not. This year, the Vorlon and Dora tomatoes are keepers. Both turned out huge gorgeous delicious tomatoes that would have taken ribbons at the fair, had the timing been right.
At the same time that we were loving those new fruits in the patch, it looked like one of our old favorites was taking a turn for the worst. The Paul Robeson, one of our all time favorite tomatoes, didn’t seem to be thriving. A couple plants died early and a couple more just didn’t look as robust as they should. I had thoughts of maybe phasing out this stand-by and working more with one of the new varieties instead.
That was before the August rush. This last big rain, followed by the big wet heat, sent the patch into overdrive. When the heat wave hit the tomato patch, the Vorlon and Dora plants lost their cool. The fruits split and cracked and the vines withered to almost nothing. The Paul Robesons on the other hand, whose seeds we have selected for at least five years now, were relatively un-phased.
This is not to say that we will not develop our own seed stock of the Vorlon or Dora tomatoes. There’s always room for improvement, in any chosen direction. It just pays to maintain direction.
It would be easier sometimes, to NOT. On many levels. Sometimes I think there are too many fruit flies involved with this seed saving thing; is it really worth the effort? Sometimes the number of things to do is sheer-ly overwhelming. Sometimes I’m tired of picking tomatoes in the hot sun. And then I get reminded…
Yoga Sutra 1.20: sraddhaviryasmrtisamadhiprajnapurvaka itaresam
“Through faith, which will give sufficient energy to achieve success against all odds, direction will be maintained. The realization of the goal of Yoga is a matter of time.”
Mr. Desikachar adds: “The goal is the ability to direct the mind toward an object without any distraction, resulting, in time, in a clear and correct understanding of that object. Faith is the unshakable conviction that we can arrive at that goal. We must not be lulled by complacency in success or discouraged by failure. We must work hard and steadily through all distractions, whether seemingly good or bad.” (gratefully quoted from The Heart of Yoga, by T.K.V. Desikachar)
Please, follow me while I turn this plow onto another row. The same garden of thought, just a different crop.
Sometimes I forget how valuable Yoga practice is in my life. Sometimes it’s easier to not make the time. Sometimes it’s easier to not feel the aches and pains in my body and work with myself, as I am. Sometimes it would be simpler to just let my mind swing from tree to tree without hindrance.
During those times, I might contemplate taking up Tae Kwon Do, or doing Zumba. Not bad things to do in and of themselves, and they might be good for me too. But, in reality, I shouldn’t stop doing yoga. If anything, these little impulses are my wake up call, to not be distracted, to remember where I’ve been and what I’ve learned, and to keep practicing, however I can, whenever I can.
For awhile, it looked like the Paul Robeson tomatoes were failing. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like my yoga practice is helping me the way I want it to. But the fault is with my own perception, my own faith, not the tomatoes, or the yoga. There’s always room for improvement, and the way toward it may not be fast. Things are rarely as they appear, especially through the colored lenses of the mind’s eye.