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These past few weeks I have been thinking about the harvest, turning to our gardens, farms, and fields for some grounding.

On recent visits with friends I have been sent away with ripened tomatoes, onions and potatoes just pulled from the ground, pumpkins still on the vine.  I have been able to spread my modest bounty of plump plums and crisp pears from my backyard orchard (…and yes, I use that word ‘orchard’ very generously).

And driving across our rural spaces it is always something to behold, the great swaths of wheat, lentils, alfalfa.  Corn and soybeans stretch as far as I can see while I’m bucking the sun heading East. Hoop houses, grain trucks, and combines with headers wider than my house.  The amber waves of grain.  Truly, a beautiful thing.

In downtown White Sulphur you can hear the cows bawling in the stockyards as their calves have been recently weaned off for shipping.  4-H steers, hogs, and meat birds have been well raised, sold to the highest bidder at the local fair, and sent off for processing.

Bow hunters have enjoyed a good harvest, and upland bird hunters have been sending their dogs across coulees to flush the pheasants and grouse.  It’s a good season all around.  How lucky we are to live in places where we can access this bounty. Where we have public land, water, and resources to be self reliant in our food systems.  A huge thank you to all the farmers, ranchers, and gardeners out there keeping us well nourished.

In the week since I first drafted this, a foot and a half of snow and -10˚ below temps haven’t crept in but blasted forth. Reminding us that we are still in Montana.  And we still can’t control the weather.  And that is a good thing.  Rifle opener for deer and elk was on Saturday and the tracks are fresh.

We hope your firewood stacks are deep, your hunting rifles are sighted in, and your harvest has been rich.

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7 Comments. Leave new

  • Sarah, Such a beautiful piece you have written! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the wonderful season of harvest in Montana. Our harvest was much earlier as we live in LA (lower Alabama), but it to was bountiful with neighbors sharing everything in our rural area! We truly are blessed, even though, as you received snow, we are preparing for yet another hurricane! Sincerely, Cindy Craig

  • Penny Raffety
    October 27, 2020 1:25 pm

    Well said Sarah! We only got about an inch or so here in SW MT. Finishing up putting the garden to bed. I love to garden so transitioning to fall is bittersweet for me. But, I am so grateful as well to live my life on a cattle ranch, raised our boys here and now introducing this way of life to our two grandbabies. We are especially grateful in 2020 for this way of life. Healthy harvest and holiday season to all!

    • Sarah Calhoun
      October 28, 2020 7:57 am

      Penny, thanks so much for your response and hard work running the ranch. So glad to hear the traditions will be passed onto the next generations.
      Stay warm and healthy!

  • Greetings from Central California! Our region used to be dominated by cattle and grain, and we still have a lot of that but in the last 10 years or so the wine grape biz has really swept thru the area. I’m not saying its a good thing OR a bad thing, but it sure has changed things! The garden was great this year and we are stocked for the winter with artichoke, tomato, beans, peppers, eggplant, squash and a whole orchard full of fruit. It’s hunting season here too, and although for a lot of folks that means Deer, Elk, Pig, and birds, for us it means going to sea in search of a big bluefin tuna. Last year I got a 240 pounder – still on the hunt this year but recently a FOUR HUNDRED TWELVE pound fish was landed! Let me tell ya, that is NOT fishing, that’s HUNTING!

    • Keith! Holy shit that is a huge fish!!! Send pictures… and can we come visit?!!
      Thanks for sharing the harvest stories from Cali.
      All the best,

  • Susan L Hawthorne
    October 28, 2020 7:43 am

    Our daily to daily duties still have to go on even with everything going on in this country. We planted our garden, and at harvest time we didn’t get as much as the past years as we hoped. We harvested our fruit trees and again didn’t get enough to even make one donation to the local food share. We were sad, but we did a cash donation because food is what brings us together. We fished a lot this past summer, and released most of the cut throat fish so they could enjoy the rest of the warm summer. I was called upon to help with the deadly forest fires within Montana and Idaho and now I’m waiting to deploy to help in CA or CO. I will be taking my GSD pants with me. One thing is you’ll never go hungry when Red Cross is helping these folks out while battling these forest fires. Food brings us together, and we could never do that without thanking our farmers and ranchers. Thank you everyone who does this thankless job. 🐖🐓🐂🍎🥬🌽🥕❤️

    • Thanks so much Sue!
      Great hearing from you – your hard work on the fires is greatly appreciated.


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