Sometimes the best cure for a “what else can they expect of me” week is a day of celebrating plenty, of turning my mind back to the things that I have rather than the things I must get or achieve. I have so much to be thankful for, and very few real worries in life. Stress, yes. Deadlines, yes. High expectations to meet, yes. But I don’t fear for my life on a daily basis. I’m not hungry, or homeless, or hopeless. The mere accident of my birthplace has made me one of the luckiest people on the planet. Sometimes a little bit of perspective helps when the stress begins to mount.

My garden is my favorite way to celebrate bounty. A few small seeds, and up sprouts more food than you can eat. There’s so much, you have to find someone to share it with. So little effort, such a large reward.

But my garden is not producing much right now. My first planting of fall greens didn’t do well. We bought some started plants two weeks ago, and the slugs have eaten almost all of them. What’s left is still struggling along, but it will be a while before it needs any real tending.

The excess of summer is still evident at the farmer’s market, though. All of the summer fruits and vegetables are still in full swing, despite the fact that it’s almost October. Today, we stored up some summer sunshine in jars.

Peaches, plum preserves, and plum jam. Not a bad way to finish the summer’s fruit harvest.

While I was in the kitchen, I made potato sourdough bread for the week, and roasted squash, eggplant, and tomato for dinners.

They don’t look like much in the picture, but they’ll be a nice addition to pasta or salads during the week.

And then there’s lentil soup. My first real fall comfort food dish of the year, inspired by the sudden resurgence of my sorrel plant. (Not everything in the garden is slowing down!)

And then lamb with a teriyaki-apricot glaze, using up some of last summer’s sunshine in a jar, and a few new potatoes that are arriving in the market now that fall is upon us.

And, finally, a plum and nectarine cobbler to use up the fruit from last week that had begun to ripen just a little too far for eating out of hand.

I like to start a crazy week knowing that I don’t have to worry about dinner at the end of the day. It’s nice to know that there will be one less thing to do when I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking. Four hours in the kitchen finished most of the week’s meals, and stored up a taste of summer for a winter day.

Tomorrow is my first day of teaching, and I’ll be stepping back into the fray. But tonight, I have my middle-knitting, and a week’s worth of healthy dinners to look forward to. And really, that’s a lot to be thankful for.