June, 2019. I love this photo of a cabbage from my Victory Garden, the way the new leaves curl to form the shape. This image of a cabbage is something I try to keep in mind: new growth surrounding the older growth, not destroying it but making it fuller, more healthy. My website will reflect the cabbage of my life, the new growth I find as I move forward from grief. The growth from my past is not lost; it is there at the centre holding the whole thing together.

August 8th. August in the garden is bittersweet. Much of the hard labour is finished; the roses, coneflowers and hydrangea bloom at length. But there is, of course, the knowledge that the summer is entering its final phase. What saves me from lamenting the end of the summer is the end of the summer: the gathering of my produce for soups, sauces and frozen vegetables to savour in the middle of winter. My patio peppers are ahead of the many plants in the bed so I was able to make my first hot sauce and remember how much I love to squirrel away summer in a jar.

August 11, 2019. Before I even conceived of the idea of creating my own Victory Garden to sustain me through a year of my husband's cancer treatment, I planted garlic cloves in the earth on a chilly November day in 2015, soon after we'd received the cancer diagnosis. The next summer with the rest of the vegetables in my garden thriving and my husband in remission, I plucked a bountiful crop of garlic from the ground. This year, almost three years after his death, I still grow as much of my food as I can. The other day I pulled up a garlic crop that matched the bounty from my Victory Garden. Life has changed so much for me but the sight of another round of healthy garlic was somehow comforting, a reminder that life continues on and that nature will nurture us if we nurture it.

August 24, 2019. Copies of my book arrived at the door yesterday. As I flipped through the finished product, I felt like I was reading someone else's story. It looked so controlled in the orderliness of the chapters and even lines. But I just had to stop to read some of those lines and relive the moment I described. And I couldn't help wondering how other people would react to the story I tell. Overall, though I felt pride and knew that my husband, if he were here, would be the first to praise the book and my completion of it. Now it's out to stores.

October, 27, 2019. After the launches for my books and first round of talks (see events) sitting home with soup and a cozy Netflix mystery series seemed pretty good. This is my Happenstance Soup. I started with turkey bones from Canadian Thanksgiving which I simmered with herbs and root vegetables from the garden. Then I made a soup with pieces of turkey, Swiss chard and beet greens, some less-than-perfect tomatoes and the last-pulled carrots. I put the hot soup in Mason jars which sealed so I could keep in the fridge longer. This week I craved the taste of the chicken tortilla soup I'd had in the south west. I used bits of bread I'd dried for stuffing and on-sale avocados and Parmesan I had in my fridge. It was delicious, but I well never be able to repeat it exactly so I savoured the happenstance results.

Debi Goodwin

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