I just got done reading a wonderful blog post. Jenna at Cold Antler Farm wrote about "Graceful Decline" - a must read, check it out here: http://coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com/2008/10/last-night-was-killing-frost.html I likened that "ahh" moment to how a tree must feel when it starts allowing the leaves to turn and then fall off, before hardening itself back up for winter.
Our garden was a bust this year. We were busy with other things (chickens, ponds, patios) and didn't have the time/desire to devote to it. Plus, we realized that our gardening styles have changed. Justin used to find zen in going out and pulling weeds for a couple of hours, but now no longer likes it. I love the planning and planting, but hate the weeds as well.
Our compromise? We're going to try Ruth Stout's method of deep mulching with straw and compost. Rather than tilling up the Earth which disrupts all the life in the soil, creates noise pollution, creates pollution from running a gas-powered tiller, causes Justin stress (from having to go rent the tiller, get it home, till the garden, and get it back before they charge us more), and sends me running for the hills (hoping I don't get a migraine from the noise) - we're trying a quiet, peaceful process that builds soil quality, helps keep down weeds, and will help retain soil moisture during summer's dry spells.
I have to say, so far I am loving it. We let the chickens "till" up areas that we're already done for us for a while, which they loved. Now we're filling in with straw. I've found it is a Zen Moment for me, spreading out the straw. I pick apart the bales and shake the straw loose, watching it fall in golden clumps to the ground. I love seeing the older straw, matted down and gray. Soon, when we stock up on hay bales and have a good long afternoon to devote to it, we will spread the compost from the bin down, and then cover it with the straw (help keep the dogs uninterested).
And now I'd like to toast a "cheers" to everyone for a hard summer's work, and to toast to that wonderful "Ahhh" moment.