Here it is October: the month of brilliant blue skies, colorful falling leaves, and crisp cool mornings and evenings. Where did September go? Life has been full and my mind divided. September begins that time of year where a large portion of my days are dedicated to schooling our four children, produce needs to be processed and put away for the winter, and I am asking the Lord to give me inspiration and guidance for planning Christmas programs for the choir and children at our church.
October arrived and I realized I had not recorded any September happenings, so here are some highlights from the past month. We schooled for three weeks, and then took a family vacation. The vacation was a simple camping trip to Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia: a much needed time to reconnect as a family away from the distractions of work and responsibilities. The first bit of joy was watching my husband and our oldest child working together to set up camp. After the tents were set up, our third child exclaimed with a big grin, “This is going to be the best vacation ever!” The children enjoyed collecting buckeyes and acorns and riding bikes around the campground. Our youngest child learned to ride on his own while we were there. We hiked trails, marveled at the widely varied colors of mushrooms, sat around the campfire, made s’mores, and gazed at the stars. We went to sleep to the sound of acorns falling and insects sawing. Several times, we observed deer walking right by our campsite. One day, we drove into Marion and found a local gallery with unique artwork. Then we stopped and enjoyed waffle cones at Sonic. Another day, we explored an early farm and one-room schoolhouse at the Settlers’ Museum of Southwest Virginia. The vacation was a blessed time of relaxing, talking, and laughing together.
As for garden happenings, we dug the remaining carrots and pulled the last of the tomatoes at our shared patch. To store the carrots, I wash them, let them dry for part of a day, then put them in gallon bags with the top left open. The carrots keep in the refrigerator for months. We also dug our potatoes here at home. Unfortunately, we had a slug infestation this year. Many of the potatoes had parts eaten away, but we were still able to salvage about ten gallons. We store the potatoes in the cellar for most of the winter.
Amazingly, I am still harvesting cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and pole beans from around the house. They have been bearing for at least two and a half months! We are expecting a cold snap, so I am not sure how much longer we will be able to enjoy those fresh vegetables. I planted some kale, spinach, and lettuce for a fall crop. The kale is looking lovely, but the spinach and lettuce did not come up. I have not had very much success with fall crops, but that does not stop me from trying!
We were blessed with being able to glean pears and grapes. It was a small harvest this year. I am also picking up black walnuts, but again a smaller harvest. It seems fruit and nuts have an abundant harvest every other year.
I praise the Lord for a wonderful garden harvest. The deep freeze is level full, and the shelves are loaded with canned goods.
In closing, I want to share a conversation I had with our third child. I had just read aloud a children’s biography about Martin Luther King, Jr. The book used the phrases “white people” and “people of all races.” Our son said quite emphatically, “We’re not white, we’re tan.” And “Why do they say ‘races’, why can’t they just say ‘children of all ages’?” Now we live in a section of town with a vibrant African American community. Our children have had playmates of various skin tones. Our youngest refers to the “brown boys” because some of the children have the same or similar names, both light and dark skinned. When his older (and more jaded) brother informed him that the boys were “black”, he asserted, “No they’re not, they’re brown!” Oh, for the innocence of a child! Wouldn’t our world be better, if we as adults realized we are just different shades of tan and brown? Why do we let skin tone and arbitrary divisions come between us? Are we not all created in the image of God? The scriptures say,”You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Let us cast aside our prejudices and embrace the wonderful diversity that is evidence of our Creative Heavenly Father!