There is a profound peace in Nature as she slows completing a growing season. That is so on every scale: forests and meadows, farms, yards, and gardens. I love sitting in the midst of it. The buzz and hum of pollinators plus the never-ending sound of plants stretching to the sun combine with various bird songs and calls through the summer. Then within a couple of weeks, everything starts to quieten. Within a month, inclusive of the first hard frost, a palpable silence falls. As a mother who has birthed and nursed two children, the sensations in the end-of-season garden are similar to the serenity of holding your newborn at breast after labor, both of you falling asleep.
The smoke from wildfires started to obscure the sun and the mountains in June. Arizona first, then California. It was a daily reminder to pray for all the beings dying, being displaced, and for the brave fire fighters plus animal and human residents who would endure life long maladies from breathing the smoke and chemical retardants. The smoke also changed how the garden grew, what did well, and what didn’t. A small consideration on my end since every year of gardening is an experiment with Nature. Not so small for the living beings on the west coast and in the states affected by the smoke.
Squashes and pumpkins, apples and plums, zucchini and peas did well. Tomato plants never exceeded half normal height or girth. Flowers were hit and miss in which did well and what didn’t. The mountain spinach, which self-seeded from last year’s plants, was prolific which is great since it’s the best spinach you will ever eat. It freezes in perfect whole leaves and does not go mushy. The mountain spinach is the tall green plant. You pick and eat the leaves as it grows through the months. Here’s some photos.