I don’t know that I consider the consequence of a seed sprouting into a plant a “miracle.” At least not in the most ethereal sense of the word. I mean, as exciting as it is to discover the first seedlings popping through the soil of a freshly-planted row, I don’t find it extraordinary or supernatural in any way. Maybe “marvel” is a better word. Because it is, indeed, a marvelous thing to take seeds, put them in the ground and eventually harvest the end results for that evening’s dinner.

Now, that’s not to say it’s necessarily easy to accomplish this task. While it’s common to discover a rogue squash plant in your compost pile, in order to purposely grow many squash plants of a variety that you desire, it takes a good deal of human intervention to achieve the ultimate outcome,

thus kind of precluding the otherworldliness aspect implied in the word “miracle.” (Unless, of course, you want to take it so far as the whole “miracle of birth” discussion and declare that we might all be miracles, making any human interaction a thing of celestial powers to begin with…but that’s getting entirely too deep for me, and there’s not enough room in this blog for that much discourse anyway.)

Nonetheless, I lately find myself throwing around the word “miracle” fairly often. Disasters, even ones in which the effects are mostly temporary, have a way of highlighting the good that survives the bad. Like after the flood event at our farm, once everyone (except John and me, being the vacationing slackers that we were at the time) hoisted up the broken farm fence enough to keep out deer and other wildlife, we were able to assess the flood’s damage to the crops themselves. Some of the losses, as with the beaten and battered okra stalks, were caused by the rushing water itself.

Other casualties were indirect. Because everyone (except John and me, the vacationing slackers) was consumed with fence repair, there was no time to tend to the crops. While the fence menders’ backs were turned, worms nibbled away almost all of the tender young beets, along with much of the first plantings of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages.

There was an oddity in the broccoli rows, though. One of the beds suffered extensive damage and is even now struggling to make a bit of a comeback;

yet the bed adjacent to it was almost entirely untouched.

A miracle? I don’t know. The two beds hold different varieties of broccoli, so there might be a logical explanation. The rows of Gypsy broccoli were all but mutilated; the rows of Packman left alone. Perhaps these were Gypsy-loving worms…or they were saving the Packman for dessert and simply ran out of time before the fence was fixed and the first round of Bt was sprayed.

The cucumbers, however, defy logical (or illogical) explanation. The plants were young when the storm hit, and were directly in the floodwaters’ path. The stakes and trellises supporting the plants were knocked down and appear to have been covered with at least three – probably closer to four – feet of water. When it receded, the cucumber plants were gone and the trellise material was loaded with debris washed in from the flood.

We wrote off the fall cukes altogether, and tried to convince ourselves to be happy that we’d at least enjoyed a successful summer cucumber season. Of course, we were all secretly heartbroken, but we managed to put up a good front as we walked away from the mess.

Then the craziest thing happened.

The baby cucumber plants poked their heads out from the weeds, shook themselves off and began climbing the crippled trellises, up and over the wads of washed-up row cover and dried flotsam and jetsam.

And not only did the plants continue growing…they began to thrive, and to produce.

This goes back to the definition of “miracle.” I suppose some might see it as divine intervention in the face of disaster, yet when I imagine what divine intervention might look like, I think of it on a much grander scale than 300 feet of cucumber plants.

Still, I’m straying from my usual stance and declaring this one a bona fide miracle. A small miracle, certainly, but a miracle all the same.

* * *

Here’s what we’ll be bringing to the farm stand this Wednesday:

Miracle cucumbers (of course!); four varieties of summer squashes – Zephyr, yellow squash, zucchini and some pattypan; lots of arugula; lots of mixed Asian-American mustard greens (great for cooking or eaten raw!); heirloom eggplant, Italian eggplant and white Japanese eggplant; red, yellow, white and green bell peppers, cubanelle peppers, Corno di Toro peppers and jalapenos; and some of this and that….

**No butternut squash this week, as we’re letting the last harvest cure for a little while longer. It’ll be back soon – along with much more!

Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm
Farm stands:
Saturdays 9:00-1:00 in Jonestown on FM 1431 at the blinking yellow light; and
Wednesdays 10:00-2:00 in NW Austin at the Asian American Center on Jollyville Road (1-1/2 blocks north of the intersection of Jollyville and Duval)