The word my son Brendan just used when I described how a bear had broken into the vegetable garden while we were away and then how the doe who haunts our place these days found the gap in the fence and made short work of the beautiful Findhorn-sized red cabbages, all the kale, the raspberry leaves, the roses, and anything else that caught her eye. (The bear didn’t eat much, I don’t think, but it dragged two garbage cans off to see what might be in them. Nothing edible—kitchen garbage is kept in the garden shed until we go to the landfill once or twice a year. Nothing interesting to a bear; just stuff that can’t be recycled.) I was saving the cabbages for Doukhobor borscht  and planned to cook one with apples and red wine vinegar to have with the Fraser Valley duck we’re having for Thanksgiving dinner tonight. And the kale! Nipped right to the stem. The Tuscan black, the Russian red, the Redbor, the strange hybrids that have evolved in my garden over the years I’ve been growing kale and letting some of it go to seed. (There’s a collard-ish one that is delicious in soup.) John fixed the gap and I dragged a big slab of cedar, left-over from the big tree we had milled years ago and whose boards frame the raised boxes in the garden and provide a beam to take wisteria over the patio, well, I dragged that slab to the gate and propped it across the opening because it seems that the doe figured out how to shimmy under the wire.

So a duck for dinner, stuffed with cornbread and dried cherries and even some salal berries I dried by just leaving them in a dish on the worktable. Wild rice. No red cabbage, whiffy with vinegar and sweet with palm sugar. No kale salad (but there are still lots of tomatoes and basil). A crumble from the freezer, made when the rhubarb and raspberries were ready. A bottle of either Wild Goose Autumn Gold from our stash or else the single bottle of Desert Hills 2016 Helena Rosé that looks like a sunrise.

And at least the doe wasn’t hungry enough for zinnias.


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