On August 7, 2021 a local newspaper’s headline read “Fraser Valley sees rain after 53 days, following record-breaking dry spell. Previous rain-drought record for Abbotsford was 39 days in 1961.” In my journal, other than that one negligible bit of rainfall, I didn’t start recording rain until the last quarter of August.

When we were six weeks into the 2021 drought, a meteorologist on the radio stated, “No rain is expected. It’s going to be another great, sun-filled weekend!” Subjective? It made me mad. From my point of view, the weather was not great. The lack of rain was not great. The heat wave was not great. The raging forest fires were not great. It was, in fact, all extremely worrying. I watched plants dry up, bushes shrivel and die, trees show signs of stress. In a region that embraces rain as normal and welcome, our vegetation is not adapted to going without.

Jim and I have close to twelve hundred square feet of community gardens to tend, so the lack of rain meant extra work hand watering our plots every three days. I am thankful, so thankful, for wells at both locations. To avoid the high daytime temperatures, we tended the gardens early in the morning, or after dinner since the private garden is in shade after four o’clock.

In an effort to feel less disturbed by the drought and the heat wave warnings, I started to pay attention to the effect of so much sunshine on our vegetable gardens. As I expected, some of the plants did not like the long, hot days. New Zealand spinach, usually so lush and abundant, barely limped along. But other vegetables loved it. I’ve never grown such big cabbages. Both the red and sweet onions filled the patch with plump round bulbs. The pole beans were so productive that eventually their trellises snapped. The peppers thrived, the squash spread out gleefully, and the root vegetables — beets, rutabaga and daikon radish — took off at a run and never looked back.

Too bad I didn’t put in some tomatoes. Not one mention of blight this year!

Posts to my blog have been scarce during the summer of 2021. Mainly, that’s because of the crazy amount of “putting by” required by this abundant harvest. Waste nothing is ingrained in me both by my thrifty forebears and by my green tribe in this new era. Family and neighbours received the benefit of our harvest. So did the food bank. Meanwhile our freezers filled up and the pantry is stacked high with jars of dehydrated foods. It has never been quite like this before.

My takeaway? The key is resilience. Habits and systems that we develop over many years of thoughtful living help us successfully negotiate the twists and turns of difficult times.

So does gratitude.

And prayer. Always prayer.