The garden and chickens this year where quite a success. Seventeen meat birds raised, averaging about 6.5 lbs apiece, and costing about $1.40 per pound. I never had this much chicken in the freezer, but, I like it.
Lots of carrots, beets and turnips in the root cellar, lots of beans dried, and lots corn drying as well. Lots of tomatoes frozen, and turned into sauce, juice, salsa and ketchup and pickles, and lots of dried mushrooms.
My general feelings about this whole process, growing food, preserving food, thinking about life in this way is this:
Its a commitment, which, like all commitments does not always feel fun. However, it is an activity which does, at the most basic level, create peace of mind. It is real peace of mind, the kind that existed before insurance tried to convince people that they could sell you peace of mind. Its is peace which comes from actions taken, from diligence, from sacrifice, time and knowledge. It leaves you with little to say at the end of it all. It is done, and here is what the results are. There are always plans for next year, always learning which occurs, but at the end of the season, when everything is put away, it is like a huge exhale. There is nothing more to do, until the season starts up. Its time to celebrate that you have participated in the reality of keeping yourself alive and healthy, to the extent that you could.
It creates space around you- knowledge that makes you feel secure. It is the raw knowledge that ensures you will be alright this winter. Even thought there is uncertainty in the weather, and many things can go wrong, if it didn't go wrong this year- then, for the most part this winter will be o.k.
This has meaning that is tangible, and that is what we need- the connection to our life, our labor, our time, and our efforts remember this feeling, and carry it forward, as the world changes, as time rubs off the memory of what it feels like to live with the earth, and to connect ourselves in the most honest way possible to the ground we live on.