Our gardening efforts this year have been productive. Friends let us plant vegetables in their back yard. Then we found out about the availability of a plot of land that we could use for even bigger gardening dreams. To say that we bit off more than we could chew is such an understatement. We tilled a huge garden plot and planted many seeds, but didn't see much result. We planted late, there was little rain just after we planted, we didn't weed or water enough...but we had fun getting our hands dirty! The baby loved playing in the dirt and the bigger kids liked planting. So all in all it was a great experience. The only thing left in that garden plot is a giant hill of sweet potatoes. They will be ready mid-October. The hardest part about that garden has been that it is not close to our home. It is a mile away, and even though that is close it is not so close that I can step out the door and weed or water. In our friends' back yard there is a jungle of tomato plants at least 10'x10' and taller than I am. The grape and cherry tomatoes have been bursting with summery sweetness and are certainly best popped into your mouth just moments from being plucked from the branch. Those and the regular Better Boy, Early Girl and Golden tomatoes capture the taste of summer. (Also included in the taste of summer would have to be fresh, sweet melon. The taste of spring is parsley and fresh baby greens, if you wondered!) I have canned tomatoes, frozen tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, made seriously good salsa with tomatoes. I am not unhappy about having more tomatoes than I know what to do with!
I'm dreaming of a home of our own. It seems that we've been in limbo so long that we'll never really settle. I was reading my Bible the other day and read in Jeremiah about a group of Israelites who had sworn to the Lord to always live in tents. That is how I feel- tent dwelling wanderer! I'm praying that the Lord sees fit to settle us a bit more than that! I'm trusting Him to know what's best for us, no matter what His answer is to those prayers!! But as I drive around our small town and see "For Sale" signs in many yards I'm dreaming of a home and a yard that I can dig in! I visit the Urban Homesteading site often and though I don't have any notion of gardening to that level I'm gleaning ideas to use in a yard in-town. (I think at this point in our lives a home in the country may not be compatible with the time we need to pour into the youth ministry and other obligations at the coffeehouse. This kind of insight into the situation is the exact reason we haven't looked for a home yet.) These are other ideas I'm keeping in mind as I wait expectantly for God to provide a home for us!
Square inch gardening
Other produce that has been given to us has included apricot (canned preserves) and cucumber (kosher dill and bread n butter pickles) as well as apples that we picked ourselves then canned 10 quarts of apple pie filling and 24+ 1/2 pint jars of cinnamon-y apple butter. This was my first year to can anything and it was not difficult at all.