I’d postponed harvesting forty garlic scapes to behold their heart-shaped architecture. One summer I forgot to remove the scapes from the center stem which resulted in puny garlic bulbs. Plus, I missed their flavor and flourish in my quiches, salads, and soups. Didn’t want to repeat that mistake.

The scapes become fibrous if permitted to unfurl, so I carried my basket down to the vegetable garden at 6:40 a.m. Friday morning.

Our six Isa Browns squawked inside their coop as I passed by. Those girls know my voice and footfall!

“Patience!” I replied.

Minutes later, I opened their yellow door with a basket full of curly food with, in botanical terms, a “spathe” and a “beak” at the end. The hens could’ve cared less about my bounty’s beaks. They wanted out! It’s fun to watch them dash into the pen single file.

Another ten minutes refreshing water and grain feeders, turning straw, and bee hive and flower pot inspections, I traipsed uphill with fresh eggs – two for scrambling with Parmesan cheese and chopped scapes.

Later, I loaded Betsy, my golf cart, with a small shovel and thermos of water and tackled twenty-three dead Grosso plants. As usual, the sixty lavandula x intermedia greened up nicely last March. Then came consecutive cold snaps and snow that destroyed most of five rows of long-stemmed lavender. Not as pleasant as harvesting garlic scapes, I whined under the hot sun until I could no longer dig and pull up another root. While I planted twelve baby Grossos, for that’s all local greenhouses had in stock, the weedy Echinacea along the opposite hillside steps nagged, “We’re next!”

“Patience!” I replied, and drove Betsy with her bed full of lifeless sub-shrubs to the fire pit. In five minutes, the flames consumed the remains of what had produced hundreds of lavender bundles.

By that time of day, our cove of volunteer Eastern Cottonwood trees shaded the needy steps—one of few benefits the Populus deltoides offers. The wind in the branches soothed me, yet the airborne cotton fell everywhere.

Working downhill from the top step, I deadheaded and weeded the north side of the rail, then repeated the south side, yanking out poison ivy that clung to the rail’s posts.

Echinacea Angustifolia cheered me on, glad to be rid of intruders. I often drink an Echinacea tisane to stimulate my immune health and help heal such maladies as poison ivy blisters.

Satisfied with my day’s work, I deposited the garden waste in the back forty and plodded toward the house for a shower and dinner.

Come nightfall, I returned to the henhouse to gather eggs and close the chute. As if in praise of our Creator, the lightning bugs arose from the earth in the darkening landscape.

Dear Reader, I’ve lived on this land thirty-two years and had never experienced this glorious, summer moment of launching fireflies. Those wise, little beetles illumined my understanding.

There’s a time to sow, and a time to reap. And sometimes we sow and reap simultaneously.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com.