Creature feature at the Fair photo

A blue ribbon creature feature at the Idaho County Fair.

It’s Labor Day weekend! And a good time to reflect on the summer of 2021 in the garden. We somehow endured extended extreme heat and even drought. And eventually maybe some of your tomatoes and peppers set. The squash bugs came early, and later zucchini leaves were covered in white blotchy mildew, but somehow you picked enough zucchini to make your zucchini relish. The smoke from the wildfires dimmed the sun and maybe kept you indoors so you could breathe, but the firefighters stayed with it and eventually the smoke cleared. And maybe you had a bumper crop of Swiss chard. The drought was extra-long this summer. But you persevered with your drip system and then, it even rained a couple of times. I am again filling our hand watering containers from the rain barrels. Some of you are still talking about the flea beetles that decimated the cabbage family of plants. But maybe you planted a fall crop which is starting to grow. The weather is currently predicted to be sunny, with highs in the 70s and 80s, no frost at night. Good gardening weather! We are blessed. And maybe, just maybe, the temperatures will be warm enough to finally ripen some of those green tomatoes. I am still dreaming of a thick red, ripe slice on a tomato sandwich.

When I close my eyes and picture all you gardeners at the Farmers’ Markets, the Idaho County Fair or at a local garden club meeting, I see only your smiling faces and feel your enthusiasm. Your onion or blueberry crop is the most abundant ever! Or you picked a barrel of pickling cucumbers! You just purchased tomatillos to make your favorite green pork sauce recipe. You harvested two gallons of juicy blackberries to put in your freezer. You have a shelf of homemade jams and jellies or pickled beets in your cellar. Yum! You have been eating five peaches a day and still can’t keep up. You are so grateful for the herbs you planted this spring because now it is time for harvesting and drying. (And your lemon balm is starting seedlings.) You come to the market every week to pick up some microgreens, and maybe a cookie.

We live in a community of positive thinking survivors, family oriented and strong. It is the people who make up a community. I was impressed at the participation at the county fair, especially with the children. There were so many ‘Creature Features’, that they filled all three shelves and then three more too. And each one was different and creative. Lots of ribbons. And the ‘’good vibes’ at the Farmers’ Market every Thursday, is inspired not just by the vendors and shoppers, but by the musicians who keep our feet stomping in the fresh air and sunshine. The shoppers remember to bring their own shopping bag. The vendors take the time to put up colorful canopies. The children are exuberant and polite. And thank you, Don, for walking to the park and sharing your sweet grapes with all of us.