It already sounds like fall outside, although for the first time this summer we are actually having Indiana-type temperatures! With the end of the summer weeks for students and teachers comes the end of other things, some welcomed, some mourned. I’m happy that the cucumber harvest has come to an almost-screeching halt; with three kinds of pickles safely tucked away in cans on shelves in the basement, it feels great to know I didn’t waste any of those delicious cukes. The last few latecomers are staying on the vine, slowly turning bloated and yellow in this August heat so that their seeds will be ready for drying and saving for next year’s planting. Goodbye, Japanese climbing cucumbers, you are a wonderful addition to my list of garden faves, but I’m ready for you to be on your way . . . now that the Golden Bantam corn is coming on strong. This morning I picked the full ears with the dry brown silks, choosing morning time because the sugars are at their peak then. . . 12 ears in three batches went into boiling water for 5 minutes to blanch, then into ice water for 5 more . . . then those golden kernels were cut off the cobs and put into freezer bags for winter eating. I have to admit I licked my fingers so none was wasted! If I get 2 or 3 more batches, it will be just enough for the two of us to enjoy when the snow flies. Note to self: Plant twice as much next year!
The end of some things is a cause for mourning, and we lost our friendliest little goat, Puppy, last weekend. He had listeriosis, which we know now could not have been overcome, despite our weekend-long battle to give him fluids, antibiotics, and B vitamins. We didn’t realize how attached we had become to that funny little Boer goat, who followed us around like a puppy, nibbled on our clothes, and amused us with that comical “toupee” on top of his head. The barnyard is so much different without him in it; still good, but now with a slight overshadowing of knowing that the four goats who remain will also have an end at some point, as will the two baby chicks who were hatched the day Puppy died, as will the dogs who leave their toys strewn about the yard and house . . . as will we. As sad as that realization can be, it also makes me promise myself that I will sit outside for just two more minutes; I will scratch that goat’s itchy head before rushing beyond her to the woodpile; and I will open my home to family and friends, even when the floor isn’t lately mopped or the cookie jar brimming with the homemade goodies I often don’t have time to prepare. And today, I will sit here for five more minutes, watching countless butterflies flutter through the motley assortment of flowers in my yard and garden . . . and be thankful, and be at peace.