The Commons in summer is many things. First, there’s the joy of gardening and harvesting the first foods. In one instance, young families are passing on gardening skills and knowledge to the next generation under the guidance of Betty Kehler, part of the Commons’ farm team. One photo shows Oliver and Vivian Jacobson picking peas that they planted here on Earth Day, April 22. Another shows Owen Gendron holding up two peas he’s just picked.

In another photo, Jennie Shellingford picks some of the lavender she planted into this border outside the Kitchen Garden in 2017; she’ll use the lavender for making salves.

The Commons in summer is also a time for paying attention to the needs of growing plants and ripening crops like blueberries. Judith Roux is taking in the effects of drought on the ability of all the blueberries in a cluster to fill out. “The blueberries heighten your awareness of this; the drought. You have to water sooner and more. If you don’t, it shows,” she says.

The thing about land, as in any living thing, is that things can go badly if you don’t take care of it week in and week out. There aren’t enough people involved in the food-growing part of the Commons to keep up all the fields and plots. David Arnell focuses on growing many of the vegetables used in Saturday morning work-bee soup lunches as part of his commitment to the Farm Team. He is scything the weeds that have grown up in the parts that have been been neglected for lack of others turning up to participate on a regular basis  too. Another photo shows a a plot that is being left to lie fallow. Under the tarp, there’s a layer of horse manure plus bio-char which was generated from a workshop on bio-char making hosted by the Commons’ Learning Opportunities Team this spring.

The Commons in summer is also sharing a post-workbee lunch outside in the shade, enjoying a gourmet soup prepared by David Skinner, part of the soup-making team (which also needs more members), and getting to know newcomer Romeo Rossi, who showed up to help that particular Saturday and is thinking of joining the Property Stewardship Team.

On Saturday, July 22, that team will start putting new siding on one wall of the Commons wood-working shop. Newcomers, plus regulars and those who haven’t been actively involved in the Commons for a while, will be particularly welcome. And the soup promises to be good!