In the gray half-light of a predawn Monday I am madly pulling Blue Coco pole beans off their vines. I am puzzling a math problem in my head that goes thus: If it takes me x time to do something and x+y+z=the time I have before I have to leave the house, why is it that if I shift x with z I am late? The time is the same. Yet late is what I will be if I don’t get these things harvested.
Yes, I think I have it all figured out, this harvest, these tasks, but I didn’t quite figure that it’s still REALLY too dark at 6 in the morning after milking to harvest said beans. And they’re blue (dark purple, actually) beans after all, which makes them even harder to see. So here I am, running around the garden with hair quite wet from the shower, an hour later than I thought I would be out here. Mondays are a delivery date for two of my CSA customers, and I need to bring the beans and the boxes to our daughter’s school with us.
I am doing other math in my head too. One is a simple check of the status of three nappa cabbage (big enough, even though I can barely see them) and the carrot row: I have just cleaned out the small fermentation crock so I think kimchi is next-up for cooking. Do I have a knob of ginger, I wonder, as I nearly trip on a hose in the darkness. Another is a mental calculus about how quickly meat birds grow in relation to the hen-raised birds. I do believe I need to call back the butcher’s wife and bump up The Date With Destiny I had slated for the Freedom Ranger meat chickens out in the tractor. I have just let out the yard birds (regular chickens) and two of the dashing young roosters have followed me to the garden gate and have commenced a crowing session. It’s more like throat-clearing, actually, with a touch of teenaged bravado. The meat birds in the field are responding, which is amazing to me because they’re a full six weeks younger than these two scrappy creatures at the gate. I wouldn’t call it outright crowing but I do give them all an A for effort. And I am doing a mental check on how much freezer space I have.
Beans, zucchini, and tomatoes now picked, I run into the house and bag them up into waiting paper lunch bags. The share for these two customers is as follows: one quart each sauerkraut and yogurt, one small chevre, two servings of savory bread pudding, a monster red pepper, the aforementioned vegetables and a dozen eggs. And a good dozen apples. I would say that’s a decent harvest. And I am late!