I realize I said the same thing last year around this time, right before exclaiming–“Good grief I need a vacation!”-but clearly then I was only floundering, whereas now it’s definitely drowning.

It annoys people when you tell them success is stressful, but it’s one of those strange mysteries of life that until you experience it you don’t know what it feels like.  It fits into that category of future feelings and as Dr. Phil oft repeats, “We are poor predictors of future feelings.” I’ve experienced this truth so often that this year I really tried to do something about it.  All spring, as we planted and watered and mulched and harvested I repeated to myself, “Now remember, you are working hard now so that come mid-summer you can take it easy.” Followed by, “Treat summer in Texas as a non-native Alaskan might treat the dead of winter in their parts: Surround yourself with books and documentaries and chick-flicks, and HIBERNATE!”

So I prepared for just that intention.  My Netflix cue is stocked with all the latest, and Amazon reliably delivered on a dozen page turners I couldn’t wait to begin.  Stacks of books keep me company with titles like:  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America by Wenonah Hauter; Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle; The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of Our Food Supply by Mari-Monique Robin; Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T.Colin Campbell; The Secret Life of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man by P. Tompkins and C. Bird; Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation by F. William Engdahl.  And in case I got bored with studying about food, agriculture and nutrition, there’s another stack of books on my second favorite topic: conspiracy theory.  I’ll spare you that list for today.

Unfortunately, while each of the books have been cracked and skimmed, other than Barbara’s, I remain ignorant to the bulk of their elaborate contents.  And each time I turn another page of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I question impatiently why I couldn’t find the time to start reading it until now.  No wonder she tops the charts of New York Times Bestsellers-she’s funny, bright, humble and a fantastic researcher and writer.  How she finds the time to churn them out all while raising a family and growing her own food is truly beyond me, especially  now, with even this blog being ignored for months and that old novel of mine a distant memory.

My early mornings are spent in service to the poultry and garden, of which the latter requires a wheelbarrow ever other day to haul the harvest to the house.  As for the poultry this year we are experimenting with Muscovy Ducks and a heritage breed of turkeys whose name escapes me now, but who are so dumb yesterday two of them got stuck in a sliver of space between the broody condo and the hatchling den, a spot so small snakes don’t even venture back there.  Had I not found them so quickly they most surely would have perished in the heat, joining several of their young compatriots already gone for various other stupidities to the great beyond.

My early afternoons are spent teaching, as usual, and success in this area as well assures me some new courses coming my way at last–in world literature–yippie!  After two decades of teaching I’ll finally get to teach what I actually studied at university.

My late afternoons are spent processing the seemingly endless bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans and tomatillos, this month.  Last month it was new potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, leeks, plums and blackberries.  Next month it will be melons, okra, sweet potatoes, southern peas, figs; after which we will begin the fall garden.

No, hibernation is not an option, nor does it look like anything more than a weekend away will be either.  There’s always next year.

In the meantime, I’ll try to stop complaining about my success, because I realize it’s rather annoying to others.  But here’s one thing I will keep bitching about:  How is it in fewer than four years an absolute gardening novice can manage this level of surplus with a completely organic program at the same time as the chemical companies insist the world would starve to death without them?

Now there’s some hearty food for thought.

My first cauliflower success: A proud moment for any organic Southern gardener!

My first cauliflower success: A proud moment for any organic Southern gardener!