When harvest season starts in the snow in late February, with crops planted in mid-August the year before, the valley’s true seasons reveal themselves quite simply. Spring, for instance, took place in the fall, and lingered under the snow, to bring the first harvests from February through April. During this season, onions, spinach, lettuce, cilantro, arugula, parsley, rhubarb, kale, garlic chives and early thyme and sage graced the table, while peas, beans, cabbages, and herbs were under way. By the end of spring in early April, most of these crops were finished, except for a new crop of onions. Then summer came, throughout April, May and June, leading from heat to wet and then onward to mixed heat and wet. Strawberries came, new onions came on, the mustards were done, but basils were here, the rhubarb continued and the first potatoes and carrots came onto our plates. The peas came on richly, and the last spinach was done. The orach continued on, joyously. Now it is early fall. The strawberries are at their end, but the raspberries are beginning, and look, harvest is everywhere. A harvest of colour, soon to go to seed, for instance.
The last of the chamomile picked.
Babies leaving the nest.
The intruders on the hill going to the wind.
Saskatoons and wild currants in glory.
And Nanking cherries weighing the branches down.
The mariposa lilies are being harvested of nectar by the flower team.
The alfalfa too.
Not to mention the good work of the all purpose harvesters.
Clover being very mysterious.
And needle and thread grass up to its sewing.
Already, the first settler fruits are ripe. Soon, there will be the Autumn crops, the apricot, peaches and plums of the dry season and the pears, apples and grapes of winter, in the rains of September and October, and by that time it will be spring again. Even as the old year matures, the new one is already here.
These are the seasons of the Okanagan. Plus the smokebush being very mysterious.
The mystery is an important part of it.