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The Last Sign

Today, I received the last sign from God that J and I aren’t called to be homesteaders. We began harvesting the sweet potatoes, and most – like last year – had been infected by the sweet potato weevil.

In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a weevil whose larvae bore holes into sweet potato tubers, rendering them bitter. Last year, never having heard of the pest, we harvested, cleaned, and cured maybe fifty pounds of tubers without knowing eighty percent of the crop was no good. And I told J that if it happened again this year, despite my having kept the base of each plant dusted with diatomaceous earth, I would quit growing sweet potatoes.

It happened again. The crop was ruined.

Actually, that’s my best guess. Because of the twelve plants, we only got to the fourth one. The third and fourth ones bore hardly any weevil-free tubers, so I assumed that most of the rest were going to be infected, as well.

Yes, you read that correctly. I gave up harvesting after only a third of the way through. I can hear motivational speakers and writers around the world gasping and “tsking” at me. I should have persevered. I should have finished. Perhaps those two plants were the worst, and I could have gotten thirty pounds of potatoes that were perfectly fine.

Perhaps they would like to volunteer to come dig up the rest of the potatoes, clean them, lay them out in the shed for curing, and pay for the electricity it will take to run the space heater in the shed for a week.

I don’t hear any volunteers. Thought so.

God had already spoken to me that we weren’t supposed to be trying to grow our own food, that He had other things He wanted us to do. And I’d begun to have a feeling in the middle of the summer that this year’s crops would be another big failure. At forty-eight years old, if I’ve learned nothing else it’s that I need to not ignore my gut feelings.

I’m not going to waste my time and end up hugely frustrated and disappointed like I did last year.

So, J is going to eventually dig all the tubers up and toss them in the woods somewhere.

And God doesn’t need to give me any more signs about the self-sufficiency in food thing. I get it. Got it.


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