A certain reader dispatches me a note from time to time (on paper, in the mail) encouraging me to write more about the beauty of the natural world and to give up making fun of “people from away.” I suspect he is reading somebody else’s column, actually, because I do not make fun of people from away (that would be, for one thing, dishonest). I make fun of the pretentious and pompous who sniff and judge, of the lowlifes among our own anarchic constituency, and of idiot writers who come here to spend three hours and then compose a fluffy Sunday supplement piece where they tell the world all about what makes a small town tick. But yes — to an extent, my reader is correct: more ink should be spent on gratitude.

I am grateful to live on good dirt, where there are butterflies and apple trees and flowers from the old days. Our well water is plentiful, clean, and sweet. Some last-holdout bit of spruce woods makes a lee from the salt spray, and we are not on so much ledge that the garden has to be hauled in by the bagful. Not everybody here has those luxuries.

We’ve observed how usually the weather changes abruptly on Labor Day Weekend, with the scent of the evening air something new, and the first chilly, dry night bringing a knockout Milky Way above. But there are still hot days, and on a sultry late-summer day recently I dug my potatoes and harvested my onions.

As I bent like a clam-digger among my potatoes — Caribou Russet, Yukon Gem, and one named Eva because I couldn’t resist — I was reminded that gardeners all over the state are doing likewise, and my smallholding is connected in spirit to humble backyard agriculture everywhere. Connected, that is, by things like the Common Ground Country Fair. It is there I learned about the big Ailsa Craig onion, and how to swing a scythe, and there I got my oak tree seedlings from a young kid named Donovan who promised me his acorns would sprout (they did). It is there I usually buy some new garlic, to add to my own from the year before, for planting in the late fall. It is there I am sometimes pleased to discover that my string beans are as nice as the blue-ribbon winners. There, I’d always find something new to bring back, an idea to try or a flower to plant.

There will be no in-person Common Ground Fair this year out of an abundance of caution. Akin to steering a big ship, changing plans for a large public event means making decisions well ahead of the curve. This was not an easy duty for those upon whose desks it fell. We shall hopefully revel and sing and feast, and buy garlic, in Unity next year.

I do not garden to seriously feed my family, because the honest truth is neither my husband nor I much like many of the vegetables which store well over winter. When our children were little we grew more (I was not a full-time summer baker in those days) and I made huge pots of minestrone out of the garden and put it up in mason jars. I am no expert at this but it is always a good feeling to present your loved one with first fruits, or a very nice specimen — the perfect tomato or whatnot — even if just one. Even if by accident.

I grow potatoes, onions and garlic in any case, and a plate of generously buttered new potatoes right out of the ground is in anybody’s book a delicacy. This island supports many wild (perhaps feral) apple trees and this year’s yield is amazing, so dessert after a meal of new potatoes is an apple crisp from three trees beside the garden, which have given of themselves through no effort on our part. This being a bang-up year for apples, we shall show respect by eating our fill, with maple syrup and brown sugar.

The milkweed patch that has taken over the southeast quadrant of my garden had been struggling in recent years, but the plants grew lush and healthy this summer. There were more monarch butterflies in residence in our dooryard than we’d seen in quite some time, which was delightful — and reassuring. A few fat caterpillars are still trying to get a meal off the plants this week but the milkweed is about done, and I am not sure those caterpillars have much time left. We have watched monarch chrysalises form and open around the place for the past month — every picnic table, ladder, and parked wheelbarrow requiring inspection. There is a new one, bright green with its metallic-gold spots, under the table now. We wish it the best of luck.