My kitchen counter can barely be seen right now. Lined up in neat bowls are scores of tomatoes in various stages of ripening.

Usually, I wonder why I have so many mixing bowls. But not during canning season. Now I have too few.

But I am not complaining.

The fullness of August has arrived in all its various meanings. The garden seems to reflect the same fullness that the moon showed just a few days ago. It’s not the harvest moon – that comes in September – but it might as well be.

Everything is early this year. Already, I have made elderberry jelly, using berries from the bushes I planted a few years ago and some from a friend. Usually, elderberry jelly-making comes in September.

To have so much produce coming in daily is a blessing, particularly after last year’s disastrous weather and garden.

Each morning, the geese and I wander out to the garden to pick whatever is ready or near ready. I must keep the geese away from their two favorite foods – lettuce and parsley. But other than that, they are pretty good at keeping the grass and some weeds down.

But it’s our golden retriever, Dusty, who is a real threat to the garden – not deer, woodchucks or raccoons this year. Dusty discovered a few years ago that something sweet and crunchy grows in the garden every August. He knows when the corn is ripe and he won’t touch it a day early.

So now, I must keep an eagle-eye on him. He’s sneaky and will circle around the pumpkins, tomatoes and lettuce, all the time watching me. He thinks he can’t be seen. If I turn my back for a minute, I discover him with a fresh picked ear of corn in his mouth.

This year, my husband and I made a couple of railroad tie garden beds and also decided to trellis some of the vine crops.

The onions, so zingy and fresh, grew well alongside the sweet, orange carrots in one bed, and a variety of lettuce, spinach and other greens are now in their fifth-planting in another.

Gourds, which didn’t grow at all last year because the vines rotted due to all the rain, are climbing to unbelievable heights. A few vines have grown so long that I’ll need a ladder to pick some that are growing on the roof of our garden shed.

Friends as far away as New York and relatives usually share in the multicolored, multishaped gourds each season. But not last year.

Garlic produced like gangbusters, ensuring lots and lots of that pungent and healthy vegetable in a myriad of sauces and other dishes. The pumpkin vines, which were planted close to the garlic, completely took over the previous garlic patch, something that worked out just fine.

The garlic was harvested in July, at just about the time the leaves of the pumpkin vines grew to Jurassic Park size. Dozens of Howden and Racer large and small pumpkins have been found under the leaves, many already turned orange.

My canner, now in its 40th year, has been working hard. Dozens of canned yellow and green beans line my pantry, and jars of tomatoes, juice and salsa are about to be added to the shelves. Corn will be canned for chowder and shepherd’s pie, carrots for soup, and beets, just because I have an abundance. I’ve given much of the prolific cucumbers, and summer squashes to nearly everyone I know.

It feels so good to do that. Last year, not only did we not have much for ourselves, but none of my family or friends received an overflow of vegetables, or their usual Christmas and birthday pickle gifts.

Each has their favorite: Dill for a brother and nephew, bread-and-butter for a sister, tangy and extremely sour mustard pickles for several friends, a niece, a nephew and a sister. This year, they’ll all get double the usual amount. And it feels good.

Every year is different when we grow a garden. And whether it turns out well or atrocious, it’s a challenge, but something I wouldn’t trade for any amount of money or experience.

To watch the seedlings sprout and grow, to watch them sometimes taking over a neighboring vegetable, to know that the good Earth has yet again provided for us is an eternal wonder.

To go outside and pick our supper is something truly amazing.

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