She Brings Me Water

An aeclectic look at the nearby world

Abundance, Fear and Moonflowers

If you’ve been following along with this blog from the first post (The Nearby World), you’ve read about our neighbor, the one who’s been planting a very large garden for the past seven years.  He’s an older man and every year he says that next year, he’s not going to plant such a large garden, but every year, the garden is just as large, if not larger.  And every year, he invites us and his other neighbors and friends to help ourselves to the excess produce.  So Rod and I go over there every few days or when we need something and fill them up with tomatoes, okra, eggplant, green beans…we take as much as we can eat or process or give away, but by August/September, there still seems to be a lot that just goes to waste, rotting on the vine or just getting too big to be edible.  Part of the problem is that we seem to be the only ones (besides this neighbor and his wife and sometimes one or two of their daughters) out there picking.

Why is that, we wonder?  The food is free, fresh and local–practically in our and the neighbor’s backyards.  We decided that it is fear that keeps others from coming.  Fear of eating something that hasn’t been cleaned and packaged and “approved” before we can buy it in the grocery store.  Fear of nature in the raw, too unfamiliar and too alien (is that a BUG??).  Too much reality, in this Disney-fied world.

 So, along with our own garden produce, we have his and therefore, our reality is that we have a lot of produce to process.  We eat as much as we can fresh, steaming ears of corn and layering eggplant and tomatoes and okra in casseroles.  I used to can but gave it up when I got a full time job, which I no longer have but can’t can now as we have no stove (long story, but I do have a microwave, a toaster oven and our camp stove is set up on the screened porch, so I haven’t missed it).  I use the food processor to process tomatoes for cooking the sliced okra in, it keeps them from getting slimy.  The corn is in the freezer; when we want corn, I steam it on the camp stove.  We also have bags of steamed green beans in the freezer, and containers of processed tomatoes for soups, spaghetti sauce, salsa…

But now, as we head into September, things are slowly ending.  The corn stalks are dried up and yellow and they talk to each other in the wind like old people recalling their youth.  The outward-expansion of spring and summer is reversing itself into the inward-spiraling of fall and winter.  The days are growing shorter.  After the autumnal equinox the night will take over from the day, and darkness will prevail.  In anticipation, the moonflower we planted next to the pergola blooms in the early evening and on into the night. 



  Lori wrote @

Mari, I am not at all surprised with the fears that some have about eating fresh produce. In fact, it has been noted that some of the young people I mention in my piece about The Learning Garden display an initial aversion to eating the produce they grew with their own hands. It’s as if they’ve been so alienated from the earth that they can’t a bit of it touch their lips. Fortunately, most of them are coaxed out of this…… I’d give anything to have a small bit of earth to tend……….L.

  shewolfy728 wrote @

Hooray for your bountiful gardens! Fresh vegetables are wonderful. About the fear, though – I wonder how much of it is a fear of other people, a lack of trust that is the problem. Are people afraid that the person offering free produce really means it, with no strings attached? In our world today where so little comes completely free, perhaps they simply are afraid of this.

  traveller2006 wrote @

I have never seen moonflowers before – beautiful things. How long do they last? one night and then all that ethereal beauty disappears?

  Bo wrote @

Such a sad commentary when people are afraid to live off their land, and trust the grocer’s refrigerated cases more than a little dirt and some neighbors’ generosity. Have we become such a distrustful, sterile nation that we can’t accept bounty from land and neighbors when it is offered? I know there are people that would give anything for home produce and friendly neighbors…
But your garden sounds wonderful. At least we all haven’t gone crazy. (Have we???)

  Heather Blakey wrote @

Some communities provide community gardens for people in your circumstances Lori. I know we have one quite near to us and it is flourishing. I think the issue is that so many people now buy everything from packets and simply do not have the inclination or skills to prepare food from scratch. Waste always disturbs me especially when there are so many hungry people. From my perspective, the people near you are simply not hungry or they would be only to happy to benefit from the food.

  imogen88 wrote @

We have community gardens here, too, Lori as Heather points out. The idea is really becoming widespread.

  Steve Posin wrote @

1. Dickens – Tale of Two Cities
2. Defoe – Robinson Crusoe
3. Proust – Swann’s Way
4. Stevenson – Treasure Island
5. Dickens – A Christmas Carol
6. Dumas – Count of Monte Cristo
7. Meville – Moby Dick
8. Dickens – David Copperfield

  Next: A Challenge « She Brings Me Water wrote @

[…] titles and authors.  The second entry, from Steve Posin (his entry is in the comments section of this post), also had all of the answers correct.  (I would have accepted either A la Recherche du Temps […]

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