Would you believe that my dog ate my computer? No? That I have been lost in the spiral vortex of green tomatoes and cabbage heads, subsisting on nothing but snap peas and dill for weeks? That is a little more like it.

In all honesty, the Coffee Creek gardens mirror the growth and transition that the community has been up against for some time now. As plants mature and the fruits of our labors are enjoyed, a cleansing time is always close at hand. After the harvest, plants are lovingly removed and the beds are prepared for a new plantings- rotations that will better suite the changing seasons. We are all settling back into this home space after the departure of one of our founding families, and legumes are on my mind. When the pea and bean vines have climbed as high as they can climb, and have created all the seed that they have to offer, one might think that their work is done, that the plant will be pulled up and carrots, a completely different but equally delicious crop, will follow. Why till and start over after each harvest when we can cut the plants and leave the roots in the ground where the beneficial nodules continue to fix nitrogen in the soil for generations to come? The strong foundations that we have carefully built here will live on, even as the faces change. I wish the Carter Family Circus well on all their journeys. Their success and happiness will be every bit as much a part of my manifestations and visualizations as my own. Transition is difficult, even when it is for the good of all, and I am thankful for all that we have accomplished together, and all that we will endeavor to build from this point on.

Now back to our regularly scheduled Creekside Gardener Newsletters, already in progress. You will be happy to know that all that time I did not spend sending you emails, I did spend tending the gardens and chickens that you are seeing in your boxes and on your plates! Color has joined the sunshine in gracing our gardens, and our bright orange and purple carrots will vouch for that. Artichoke flowers are sky high, lettuce heads are lined up like little green ground roses, and I cannot see the world from within the spiral of bounty. There are more tomatoes than I can shake a Kerr jar at, and some of them are even threatening to turn red...or purple...or orange!

All the garlic has been harvested, early season crops are finishing up, last sowing of spinach, carrots and peas are in, and the rest of the garden is ready to nurture veggies that will brighten the gray days of autumn and winter. Back into the greenhouse to gently water the first leaves of our hardier varieties of greens and Asian cabbages to name a few, that will gladly inhabit your garden bed all the year round. One of the many benefits of winter gardening in the Pacific Northwest: you don't have to water! If slogging out to the garden in January for a fresh head of cabbage is not your idea of fun, think about planting some garlic this October: the over-wintering is virtually hands-free (that is, if you don't have chickens to kick the mulch off the beds as if there were gold to be found), and the flavor difference is immeasurable. A plant list, complete with suggested reading material and other bits of information on fall and winter gardening will follow, but I am always here to answer questions and help plan out a rotation of crops that will suite your family and your garden.

Waylon, my four year old son, came to me yesterday holding a canvas bag that previously housed his collection of small instruments. "This would be really good for filling with garden goodies," he said. I agreed and mentioned that he should bring it with next time we are picking. About a half hour later he came into the kitchen smiling a mile wide. He was holding a bag over full with carrots and informed me that they were for our dinner. Inspiration! I set him up with a bowl of water to wash them in, and this is what we made to go with our masala and barley:

Sweet Ginger Carrots
1 bundle of carrots, washed and cut into bite sized rounds
1 T fresh grated ginger
a few pads of butter
a drizzle of honey
a splash of water
Preheat oven to 350 degree.
Place carrots into a glass baking dish, grate ginger evenly over all. Add pads of butter, drizzle honey, and splash water on them. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring a couple times, until carrots are easily pierced with a fork, but are not mushy. Serve as a side with a coconut milky curry or double (triple?) the recipe for your next potluck. Kids really dig this one!

Harvest season is a great time to feast, reflect, and give thanks. I hope that everyone takes a few moments to think about the bounty we are blessed with. So much dedication, hard work and perseverance goes toward providing our families, our communities and ourselves with the things we need, that the magic is often forgotten. No matter how hard I work to stack things up, it always amazes me to see it fall into place.

Thank you for being thankful,