Harvest pays in many ways as we process the "fruit of our labors" produced in our greenhouse and raised bed gardens, and on our fruit trees. Bounty from our yard and gardens is prolific this time of year and keeps our family quite busy dealing with the massive amounts of apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.
It's very gratifying to reflect back over the growth process of the last several months–how we prepared the soil, planted the seeds, cared for our growing plants and trees by watering, feeding them with nutrition, and weeding–and see how the hard work, hours and hours of time, and money invested has resulted in such abundance.
These days we are enjoying the process, eating, and sharing all that we have prepared from our bountiful harvest–the applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp and apple juice, cherry cobbler, refrigerator pickles, cucumber salads, cucumber chips, and homemade tomato soup–just to name a few.
Reminds me of how it is with relationships. Like gardens and orchards, cultivating a rich relationship takes time, energy, effort, time and even money. As worthwhile and gratifying as a garden can be, much more so is the relationship that has been nurtured and cared for every step along the growth process.
One way I have found to combine my love for gardening with my desire to grow relationships is to share our garden produce with others. This is a great way to invest in and build relationships with our neighbors. This sharing from our abundance has honestly become my favorite part of the harvest! I think that because once the harvest season is done and over and the food is long gone, I will still have the harvest of my relationships to feast on.