Summer = stress
- 12 workshops May-Sept.
- New Preserving Traditions mail system
- 1500 sf of garden
- ~30 pints of jam
- ~24 pint of salsa
- ~12 pints of tomatoes
- ~12 quarts of pickles
- Grange Community service book
- Grange Ad for contest
- And oh, my usual 9-5 job with basically no vacation days
- And the beastly heat
- And the mosquitoes, up my nose and in my eyes and welts all over, just from venturing out to pick a cucumber or two
I know other people do all this, and have kids, and cook 3 meals a day, and take it all in stride, but I just can’t do that. Either they are stronger people than I, or I am more demanding about my general stress and sanity levels. Or both. But you know, it doesn’t do anyone any good to beat yourself up with “But it just seems like SHE can do so much MORE than I can!”
So…what parts of summer do I hate?
- The heat and mosquitoes, which make everything else less bearable.
- Vegetables of Obligation: things that ripen in bucketfuls and must be processed right now. Tomatoes. Cucumbers. I don’t do zucchini, for that reason.
- Plants I tend because I just want a handful of something: peppers, eggplant.
- Working my butt off in the garden, and teaching, and then having to think of something to have for dinner (which is also my lunch for the next day) and oh by the way it better use some of the X that’s currently ripe or it’ll go to waste…guh.
Well. That’s depressing. It almost sounds like I hate gardening and fresh vegetables.
What do I love about the summer?
- Teaching. Love love love it. Y’all give me more energy than I put into classes, I swear.
- Green beans and sweet corn.
- Vegetables no one else seems to grow – like baby winter squash.
- Not having to bundle up against the cold.
- It’ll soon turn into fall, and the return of cool-weather gardening, which I like so much. Kale, peas, digging up the potatoes and tucking the hard squash away for the winter…yum.
Ok, look around…what resources do you see that can move you more to the “love” side of the equation?
- About a bazillion farm markets and produce stands. All the tomatoes I can possibly want, conveniently all ripe the very weekend I have scheduled to make salsa! And the handful of peppers and such I need to make the salsa, too. And the two eggplant I seem to crave each year. And the corn I can’t keep out of the raccoons’ paws. And the cabbage I can’t seem to grow to save my soul.
- Mary Wessel Walker’s Harvest Kitchen. The summer share of this CSA takes a share from the Community Farm CSA in Ann Arbor and then – joy of joys, magic beyond belief – Mary and her crew cook it for you. I’ve decided I’m going to treat myself to a half share, and Harvest Kitchen will cook me lunch all next summer, leaving me free to teach. And also not do a traditional summer garden, except the things like hard squash and dry beans that will just grow until cool weather.
And let me amend that. I don’t think this is “treating myself.” I think this is more like appropriate self-care, so I can do the things that really are important for me to do: my job and my teaching, and staying calm and healthy so I’ve still got some me to share with my sweetie and my friends and family.
Yeah. That’s the ticket.