With my little harvest drawing to a close, my energies have turned from growing food to preserving it. So far, I've put up 2 dozen jars (of various sizes) of freezer jam--blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and peach. I've dried 4 quarts of tomatoes (and thrown half of that away). I've frozen countless bags of peaches, corn, green beans, beets, berries and roasted tomatoes and peppers. And I've canned peaches, peach pie filling, pears, salsa and marinara sauce!
And I feel like I'm just getting started!
The whole gardening process--from planting the seeds to harvesting and preserving the produce--has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my life. I've learned so much about life and God and myself as I've played in the dirt. I've made new friends, felt a deeper connection with women in general, and have finally come full circle in my relationship with food.
As I blogged a few weeks back, I've struggled with eating disorders for most of my life.
During my first season of gardening, however, the Creator has replaced my ambivalence toward food with a sense of gratitude for His good and perfect gift. Handling vegetables and fruit from their seed-stages until harvest time has given me a new appreciation for eating--I actually taste the food I'm chewing, savoring each delicious bite.
The spiritual lessons gleaned through sowing, fertilizing, weeding, pruning and harvesting have impacted me deeply. I feel more connected to the Lord, His creation and the long line of "tillers of the soil" who stretch back all the way to the Garden.
It's taken me a while to come full circle. But after all, my grandparents were wheat farmers--and my genetic roots go down deep in the rich west Kansas dirt.