Ever since the 5th of October when Gardening Gone Wild announced the subject of the October “Picture This” contest, I have been struggling to find the one image that cries out “Abundant Harvest” for my entry. This required quite a lot of philosophizing and visualizing, trying to define the whole concept of abundant harvest. I had lots of thoughts and ideas. There were obvious ideas: take a picture of the pints and pints of tomatoes and pickles and jellies and jams in the food room. What about the freezer full of fruit and vegetables? Turns out I just don’t have the camera that can adequately capture the contents of my freezer or the food storage room. The pile of 36 butternut squash along with the well over 50 pounds of sweet potatoes on the floor of the back bedroom just looks wrong due to its placement in front of the Library of Great Novels that also live back there. I don’t have time to pose them better.
I thought about the huge “Mortgage Lifter” tomato I harvested last year, the picture I took with the ruler that indicated just how large it was.
I just couldn’t decide that epitomized abundant harvest in all its aspects to me.
Then when I was harvesting my sweet potatoes, I came across a hidden bounty. One of those tubers weighed SEVEN pounds, and it was just one of many tubers on the plant. It wasn’t that photogenic, though. And I couldn’t decide which of the shots I took that day got across the idea of “abundant” harvest the best. So I made a whole post on the abundant sweet potato harvest , featuring pictures of the sweet potatoes in the garden along with a future abundant harvest of lettuces and stuff.
I was starting to have a very hard time deciding how to depict abundant harvest.
I contemplated this picture as a candidate for several days.
I wasn’t just trying to capture the amazing quantity of sweet potatoes that came out of those two whiskey barrels that day. There was an abundance of work encompassed in the background of the picture (the new stroll garden and the strawberry bed in the background). I particularly appreciate that Ruby is in the shot, enjoying her abundant harvest of the femur of a steer we bought for her at the butcher’s. She also represents the abundance of unconditional love that I receive from her and from other sources. In the farthest background is the beautiful ripple stone bench I have because my son and husband harvested it for me out in the woods. An abundant harvest of love is symbolized by that rock.
But I just didn’t know.
I thought about making a “bounty basket,” and I accumulated several collections of veggies during the weeks after the announcement of the contest. Unfortunately, they were comprised of gnarled carrots (still sweet though) that I rescued from the tiny black ants who thought the carrot roots would make a convenient winter home, or tomatoes that were waiting through the cold rain for a warm day to finish ripening that had been chewed on by every casual passer by, or a wheelbarrow full of swiss chard we picked from the row I featured in a previous post . We went out and harvested the whole patch of chard because we were under a freeze warning — the first hard freeze of the season.
The shots of the chard I got in the wheelbarrow turned out truly ugly. The chard looked wilted, the wheelbarrow was dirty, there was all kinds of junk (an abundant harvest of sorts, I guess) in the background of the shot. I gave up on the chard idea.
During the same time frame that all of the above was going on, I harvested the black bean patch, dried the vines, and pulled the beanpods off the vines. Then over a couple of quiet TV evenings, Jim and I shelled out the black beans. I thought the beans might make a good subject. Dried beans aren’t that photogenic either, being nothing like dewy fresh fruit or shiny colorful veggies or waving fields of grain.
Then I realized I couldn’t leave that chard outside in the wheelbarrow if it was going to freeze during the night or it would be spoiled. It needed to come in the house. I stood looking at the mass of chard squatting on my back porch. Suddenly I thought of my bath tub. The perfect container! I hauled an armload of greens to the back bathroom, severely freaking out Smokey (our cat) as I trundled through the living room laden with chard. I flung it into the tub, deployed the stopper and ran several gallons in on top of the rather sadly wilted greens. I hauled the rest of the wheelbarrow load back there in a second trip. A while later, I went back to check and make sure the tub was holding water, and all of a sudden I felt I was in the presence of the most whimsical presentation of an abundant harvest I had ever seen.
And so, I present to you my interpretation of “Abundant Harvest”: A BATHTUB FULL OF CHARD
That’s my entry. The chard is in the freezer now. There were 16 packages of greens and over a gallon of stems. We’ll be enjoying it this winter, braised and in soup, thankful for all our abundant harvests.
Thanks to the Gardening Gone Wild folks for hosting this fun contest.