Giving thanks for your garden’s bounty

Imagine the taste explosion of sinking your teeth into one of your home-grown tomatoes... Yum. Something to look forward to...

Picking some ripe tomatoes off the vines in the greenhouse the other day, I noticed how many had not even begun to show signs of turning red yet.

This means I am either making green tomato mincemeat again this year (it’s really good if you add brandy to it) or I will have to find some space to spread out the green tomatoes between sheets of newspaper to finish their ripening.

Imagine the taste explosion of sinking your teeth into one of your home-grown tomatoes … fresh … in November or even possibly December. Yum. Something to look forward to … and to be thankful for the bounty our garden has provided us.

Yup. Our garden has been very good to us this year.

We have vegetables put away for later. Jars of preserves are stacked up in the pantry.

There are apples and pears to see us through for a few months. And there are still beets and carrots to pull from the garden to add fresh colour on our dinner plate.

So much to give thanks for … and Thanksgiving upon us. Did you know that Thanksgiving is not a statutory holiday in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island? I didn’t know that.

For the rest of Canada, Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed a statutory holiday by Parliament on Jan. 31, 1957. A designated special day in which we give thanks at the end of the harvest season.

But it is not just about giving thanks for what the harvest has provided us. We should be thankful for all that we have in our lives.

I know at the top of my Thankful List is having my Duke in my life.

Besides the very obvious fact that he is a great guy, I would definitely not be a Duchess without him! Next on that list are the four kids and three grandkids. They all have their moments but all-in-all they are pretty awesome as kids go.

And nowhere would I be nearly so blessed if it were not to have my faithful, big, black bear of a blind dog, Molly, in my life.

She has taught me so much through how she quietly accepts her handicap and still enjoys each day with a wagging tail. Especially if that day involves an off-leash romp at the beach.

And yes, I am even thankful that John and I both lost our jobs 14 years ago. The company did us a real big favour … although we did not know that immediately at the time.

By forcing us down another career path, we rediscovered the ultimate joy to be found in a garden. Who can dispute the fun of sharing your workspace with a bunch of singing “co-workers”? If that does not make every “work day” a happy experience, I don’t know what would.

Then there is the extended family to be thankful for … especially my sister who is having us all for Thanksgiving dinner this year! My parents will be there. It is Mom’s birthday on the 9th so we’ll have birthday cake along with made-from-scratch pumpkin pie. Yum.

I am saving some of our pears for her birthday present. Her favourite fruit.

And we’ll be taking some of our beets for the family dinner. I have a special request from my brother-in-law for my Beets with Lemon Honey. They were quite the hit at the last family gathering.

(If you are interested in the recipe…it is so easy and sooo good…I have posted it on my website: www.duchessofdirt.ca.)

Last, but definitely not least…I am so thankful to all my friends and faithful followers of my column. And thankful for my great editor too…but for whom I would not have a gardening column at all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her column appears every second Friday.

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