Over The Hump

I made Michelle laugh the other day. Out loud. Michelle never laughs at anything I say anymore. Unless it’s hysterically funny, and heaven knows I try. But after 77 years together or however long it’s been, my only hope for laughs is to change the audience.

We were at breakfast discussing her staying in Toronto to help our daughter with our new grandson. It’s one of the busiest times of the year in the garden, plus I’m the Green Party Candidate in Hastings-Lennox & Addington in the October Federal Election, and there are a few other things on the go.

Anyway, I was trying to convince Michelle that I could handle Sunflower Farm by myself for a few days if she was away when I uttered the fateful words … “We’re basically over the hump in terms of the garden …” which sent Michelle into convulsions of hysterical laughter. I have to admit; as soon as the words left my mouth I started laughing pretty hard too.

I’ve been playing this game since March. As soon as I get all the potatoes in the ground I’ll be ‘over the hump’ for a bit. As soon as I get the garlic weeded I’ll be ‘over the hump’. As soon as I get all the onions pulled and dried and stored I’ll be “over the hump.” And so it goes. When you run a CSA you never get “over the hump.” The work just keeps on coming. In waves. Endless waves.

Compared to other work I’ve done this is awesome. I love it. It’s hot and exhausting, but it’s real work. With real tangible results when I’m done. There is no computer crashing or needing to be upgraded to version 7.2. There is no inventory going out of date. There is no obsolescence. Just food. Planting and growing and harvesting food. It’s so basic. And hard. And simple. And so awesome.

The onions turned out to be an enormous amount of work to harvest. Once I get them out of the ground I cut off the stalks and dry them on wire racks. Michelle got this photo of me using an umbrella to keep the direct sun off me, because it is brutally hot work. Once they’re dried I have to pack them and store them ready to distribute each week. Then I have to rototill the patch where they were.


Now I’ve started my replanting with our fall lettuce and spinach in those spots. Next it’s on to the potatoes and the first ones I planted are ready to be harvested. And cleaned. And stored. The tomatoes are coming fast and furious and we usually wash them to make them look their best. Then it will be time to harvest the sweet potatoes. It’s a different type of harvesting than regular potatoes, but still a ton of work. And the garlic is dried so now I spend a few hours every evening cleaning it.

We have had a great harvest of corn this year. Last year the corn was a bust and the raccoons ate what little we had before I could really harvest it. This will be week 4 for corn. Our earliest corn, the shorter stuff on the right is “Spring Treat” which is pretty much done and last week we started harvesting “Jackpot” which is the taller corn on the left. Spring Treat was sweet and wonderful.


I am so pumped about having corn this year, organic corn, “organic, non-GMO and all that other stuff” corn! Delivery morning for the CSA is just a blast. I got Michelle to bring out the camera last week after I’d picked about 300 ears for our members. I was so proud of it. There is simply nothing like growing food, and when you’ve struggled with something in previous years and you have a good harvest it’s absolutely fabulous.

So I’m going to be honest with myself. I’ll be ‘over the hump’ with the CSA the second week of October, Canadian Thanksgiving. The election gets busy for me in September and October but Election Day is October 19th, so I’ll be over the hump the third week of October.

There will still be much to do, emptying and storing all the irrigation equipment, cleaning greenhouses, rototilling weedy sections, putting any of our roots crop away for our use and for next year’s planting. Saving seeds. Planting next year’s garlic. Then getting on with the all ‘fall projects’ I’ve been putting off like upgrading the chicken coop for the new chickens, and making the garden I had potatoes in this year bigger, and starting to cut next year’s firewood, etc. It never seems to end. I don’t think it ever did for our ancestors.

Cheap and abundant energy has freed most of us up from the drudgery of all this mundane day-to-day grunt work. Now we have time to play video games, gamble at casinos and fly to foreign destinations, and sit in traffic, and work out butts off to pay all the bills to support our suburban houses and lifestyles. I do not participate in any of those activities. I do not feel I am missing too much.

I believe as the ‘big one’ finally catches up to me and I fall to my knees clutching my chest in the potato patch where I hope to exit this mortal plane I’ll finally be able to mutter “It’s okay, I’m ready, take me now… I’m finally over the hump!”

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We have begun sign ups for our fall workshop, planned for October 24th. See the sidebar for more details, and be sure to register soon as spaces are limited!

8 Responses to “Over The Hump”

  • Hi Cam, you’re right over the hump is a way of getting your next breath. Im 8 years into my farmsteading life and trying to downsize: no more honey or sheep,etc. best regards

  • Wonderful to hear of your organic farming endeavours. I so understand the over the hump – it’s how I feel these days! We are still raising chickens, garlic and organic verges- in diminishing quantities each year. Keep up the great work,

  • Charlotte:

    The combination of “I’ll be over the hump the third week of October” with “sign ups for our fall workshop, planned for October 24th” was quite funny 🙂

    Anyway, great post.

  • Brad Annis:

    Garden looks great!
    What’s on the agenda for election campaigning? I’d love to meet you before the election!

  • Murial:

    LOL. I thought your post was referring to Nicole’s pregnancy at first! Yes it is the same for housework, never ending but gardening and growing food are definitely more rewarding.

  • Jean:

    Awesome corn field! Just awesome!!!!!!!!!

  • Hey you guys…

    I do not use the same phrase as you, I call it ” I will finally get caught up”. Same thing. Except like you said, you are never caught up. But we would not trade this lifestyle, and all it’s hard work, for anything, certainly not living in the Big Smoke!

    Hope you both had a great year with your CSA.

    Cheers, Melanie

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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