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Exceptions to the Law of the Harvest

By Catherine Pavia

Our kitchen counter on Sunday morning.

Four years ago we planted a little orange tree in our backyard. We were told to expect fruit anywhere from 3-5 years later. Last year, at our three-year mark, we eagerly watched the tree for signs of fruit and there it was: one solitary green ball that slowly turned orange as Christmas approached. After Christmas, we pulled it off its weak little branch and divided the long-anticipated orange into sections at the dinner table that night.

Imagine our delight this year when green balls dangled from all sides of the little tree. “Twenty-five!” “No, I counted twenty-nine!” My kids argued about our potential harvest. Once again, we watched the small balls turn into large fruit that bowed the branches precariously. And, after Christmas, we eagerly began harvesting our fruit, only to discover that the top fourth or third of each fruit was white, dry, stringy, and bland (if we could even force ourselves to chew it up!). I cut the juicy bottoms off for fruit salads, but the majority of the oranges were harvested into the refrigerator for a few days before being thrown away since all the filters are replaced by www.discountfilterstore.com/samsung-filters.html just now that helps to retain the freshness for a long time. (For some reason, I couldn’t bear to just pick the fruit and toss it: I had to pretend that there was chance it would get eaten!) Our harvest was thwarted, as were the kids’ plans to pick an orange in the morning for their lunch, to have freshly squeezed orange juice every Sunday morning, and to partner with the kids down the street to create a successful orangeade/lemonade stand.

That is, until last Saturday night when Natalie called me up: “I have bags of extra citrus that I got from a friend,” she said. “Do you want some?” With garbage sacks full of oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, on Sunday morning, the kids and I got out the juicer and in 10 minutes had fresh orange and grapefruit juice for Sunday breakfast and lemon juice to be made into lemonade for lunch and dinner. I cut the fruit in half and the kids (even the 2-year-old) took turns pressing the halves down on the juicer. The kids laughed and oooed and ahhed over the fast-rising juice line. They stacked the empty halves up into towers and then tried to make baskets by throwing them into the waiting trash bag. We froze some of the juice into citrus pops, gave some to the neighbors, and put some aside for the grand lemonade/orangeade/grapefruit-ade venture this coming weekend. At dinner, the kids slurped their lemonade with satisfaction, and, with a comradeship that’s often missing around these parts, complimented each other on the “perfectly sugared” outcome of the morning’s teamwork.

Now, I love the Law of the Harvest. As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, I have seen bounteous evidence of its literal truthfulness, and, as a daughter of heavenly parents, I have seen bounteous evidence of its spiritual truthfulness (by isabelle at dresshead). I have clung many times to the promise that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). But equally important to me are the exceptions to the Law, times when I have sowed and sowed and come up empty-handed, with nothing but white, dry oranges, and someone else has stepped in to share their own harvest, their own faith, their own fruit.

When has the Law of the Harvest blessed you? When have exceptions to the Law blessed you?
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About Catherine Pavia

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

13 thoughts on “Exceptions to the Law of the Harvest”

  1. My kids juiced oranges last night. It is truly one of the great joys in life.

    I hope exceptions to the Law of the Harvest turn out to be blessings. So far I am just extremely frustrated and feeling a bit disillusioned.

  2. When I lived in WV on a half acre, I had a 10×15 garden plot and three fruit trees. I could never get the fruit trees to produce anything edible, but it taught me to respect and admire how much knowledge and labor goes into that vocation. It also made me more aware of the olive tree allegories and metaphors in the scriptures. I did get a couple of good harvests of green beans, corn, peas and sunflowers.

    Now that I'm in KS with a smaller yard and a dog who likes to dig, we aren't gardening. We do compost (I put a dozen pavers over the compost pit to keep the dog out of it; so I lift weights and enrich my soil every time I take out compost.) Whenever we compost, I teach my kids about "feeding mother nature" and talk about not wasting food.

    Every time I weed, I recite a sermon in my head about the importance of eradicating sin and bad habits when they are small. And I praise women in my ward who garden. Now that I've tried it, I can see the time, smarts and resources required. Rock on, gardening girls!

  3. From what I know growing up in AZ, sometimes orange trees need another orange tree nearby – especially navel orange trees. Also, your tree may have gotten too cold and the oranges froze (I think this is the most likely culprit). To prevent this, you have to cover the tree to prevent the frost from sticking and freezing your fruit. Other than those two things, they may have just not been ripe enough? No matter which problem it was, that is the worst to open up an orange and find that it's all nasty! Better luck next year.

    I love summer when my friends' gardens produce too much of anything and they let me have it. YUM! Also – I have a gift for producing yellow squash (see:it's really, really hard to kill), and that is always wonderful to experience bounteous amounts of delicious squash.

  4. Stephanie, I will pray that they are blessings in your case and that your frustration will end quickly. (Where's that hug emoticon when I need it!)

    KDA, yes, any kind of gardening has taught me great respect–for others and for the Creator. And way to go on the composting! That is something I have never tried.

    JP, no idea about the oranges. I'm going to ask at the nursery this week, though, when I go to get some supplies to prepare our garden (since I live in AZ, we have winter and spring gardens–my winter garden is done and I need to get cracking on my spring garden or I won't have any tomatoes before the heat hits).

    Tay, at first I thought they weren't ripe enough, so we waited before picking more, but no luck. I'm stumped by the fact that it was only the top 1/3–the rest of the orange was fine, but it's hard to eat just the bottom 2/3! It could have been the cold. Unlike my neighbors, I don't break out the sheets for our plants when the weather people forecast frost–I feel like most days, it's all I can do to keep my little family warm and fed, not to mention the plants!

  5. This was a beautiful post, Catherine. And now I'm going to go hunt down some orange juice—this made me thirsty!

  6. Lovely article.

    What I do with my orange and lemon rinds is freeze them and then take a couple out once a week to run through the garbage disposal. Totally makes your sink smell good.

  7. KDA-I use the same sin metaphor for weeds (and spiders in my house). Yank out the sin!

    Lovely post, Catherine. I am thinking that the Lord does bless us for all our efforts, just not always directly as your orange tree efforts as sowing/neighbor gift as reaping demonstrates.

  8. Yeah, it was most likely the frost that got 'em. Too bad – that is always so disappointing. Glad you got other peoples' oranges! Also I'm a little jealous – I miss citrus and refuse to buy it in the stores because I'm completely spoiled from picking it fresh off trees.

  9. We bought an older home a couple of years ago and we've been learning the hard way about the law of the Harvest! The first year, our yard was literally littered with plums (regular and Italian prunes) because between our unpruned tree and the neighbors trees, we had *way* too much fruit. (We also have a peach tree, apple tree, and raspberry and blackberry bushes). We learned that first year about pruning, and the next March we set to work pruning our fruit trees–only to have a late winter storm set in. None of the fruit trees in our neighborhood did well that year. Last year, we finally managed to get the pruning done and had a harvest–and for the first time in my life I learned how to make jam and can peaches with my own fruit! It was a wonderful feeling.

  10. My son has become an 'entrepreneur.' That's what you're called once you don't have a job.
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