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Chloe and I went out today to pick the last tomatoes and dig up roots. I intended to harvest the elecampane roots (for dyeing) but gave up after I leaned against the shovel to try to get leverage to get one out of the ground and took a tumble amidst a pile of bricks. The bruises already hurt, which is a bad sign.

So I stuck to the carrots and beets. Somehow the white/yellow/red/purple carrot mix I planted ended up almost entirely white, which means my carrots look like radishes or parsnips. I planned to get the parsnips, too, but my ankles and back were hurting (I was wearing Chloe in the sling and I’m not used to crouching in it) so I gave up and went inside.

But not before getting a handful more of dried beans from the dried-bean edifice. I left the plants up when I picked them over and now a bunch of them have new, green pods hanging there. They’re trying to tempt me to leave them up! Evil, evil plants.

The little one is sleeping. We went into the garden together today, she and I, with the help of a sling that I’m still getting the hang of. (We decided to try a sling because our friends recommended one, but couldn’t find a satisfactory way to put the baby in it. Now that she can mostly support her own head, it’s becoming much easier.) I picked coriander and a few surprise heads of nigella sativa–I thought I’d seen those flowers earlier in the year, but they disappeared under the cover of the cilantro and sage and weeds in that area–while she looked around at the giant wormwood and the sprawling volunteer tomato plant that my dad unfortunately didn’t pull while he was here.

I’ve requested newspaper and shall be receiving it shortly. The next couple of weeks will be devoted to closing down the garden, which mainly means harvesting what I can of what’s there. That means picking a last round or two of green beans, digging the carrots and parsnips and potatoes (if there are any), cutting herbs for drying and freezing, gathering basil for the summer’s single batch of pesto, making tabbouleh with the parsley. Then pulling out the stakes and trellises, and deciding whether to move the unruly raspberry whose berries don’t seem as good as the ones on the plants in the actual raspberry patch, and then a lot of digging and stomping and spreading and watering and spreading again. The little one and I will also be taking an exploratory trip to Home Depot sometime soon, to price mulch. And then the little one will be spending a weekend at grandma’s while I put this garden into its winter crib.

Flowers and even fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.

Marion Zimmer Bradley

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