Ode to Little Tomatoes

Look at them!
Perfect little round balls
of juicy sweetness –
the last harvest of the fall –
planted and watered by me
tended by honey bees –
planted in the spring
in a pot on the deck
growing in the summer sun
watered by the rains of autumn –
it took three seasons
to get them here –
me and the bees
and the sun and the rain –
connected in the magic
of these perfect red orbs.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Tale of the Forgotten Carrots

I am inordinately pleased with myself right now.

At the beginning of the summer I planted carrot seeds in a small planter box on my deck. I watched them sprout and grow and felt pretty good about myself and what had come from my seeds, but… then I kind of forgot about the carrots. Occasionally the dog would stick her snout in the planter box and go grazing and pull a carrot out for herself. Scott transplanted some of the sprouts to his garden when his own carrots weren’t doing so well – and my carrot seedlings did really well for him. But. Yeah. I got caught up in other things and, for the most part, the carrots just sat in their box of dirt. Patient. Waiting. Trusting.

And today I finally remembered them! I went out to the planter box and dug around and found a bunch of little carrots – still healthy and edible. I brought them inside, washed them off, and turned them into (drum roll) CARROT CAKE! (I used some apple sauce Scotty had made from his Gravensteins, too – we’re living off the land, baby!)
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Delicious autumn!”

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth

seeking the successive autumns. – George Eliot


I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility.

Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time. – Robert Browning


In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. – William Blake

I love this time of year.  I love the musky, cidery smell in the air, the sunny days that have just a little bite to them, the gold and crimson in the leaves, and the gathering of the harvest.  There’s a huge satisfaction in bringing in the harvest and squirreling stuff away for winter, isn’t  there?  I feel a connection to the generations of peasant ancestors that came before me, and to the world that gifts us with the seasons and earth’s bounty. I feel connected to Life.

Last July, being the cheapskate I am and not wanting to spend a whole lot of money on a factory-made arbor, I asked my son – the engineering student – if he would design and construct an arbor for my grape vines from the flotsam and jetsam we have stashed away around our property.  With an old gate and four posts he found in a pile of wood, the son and his friend built a really cool grape arbor for me.  I wove the vines into the mesh of the old gate at the top of the arbor and awaited developments.

Soon clusters of little grapes were beading on the vines. And then, in due time, the beads became full-fledged grapes – ripe and purple and ready for harvesting.

And yesterday it was time to turn the grapes into my very first ever batch of grape jelly! Et voila! Behold…

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Yup. I made the grape jelly glowing in the morning sunshine in the jars on my kitchen counter. Aren’t those jars beautiful?  I look at those jars of jelly with a kind of awe. That jelly came from the grapes that grew on the arbor my son built for me.

Cool. 🙂

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. – Genesis 1: 29

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. – Matthew  8: 22

(all photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell)