If you are what you eat, in the last five months I have become a 155-pound bell pepper.

One of my favorite things about living in the country is that I can have a garden and an orchard. I feel that growing things is a stress-relieving, healthy and self-actualizing activity. I feel happy when I see the first little yellow flowers on my tomato plants in April or pull my first radish up in May.

I am often amazed at how different my garden is every year, not based on my planting and caretaking practices, but on weather and climate. Some years I have lots of peaches. Some years I have cherries. Most Julys, I get zillions of blackberries in the bramble at the back of the pasture.

My fellow gardeners and I have discussed it, and 2018 was the Year of the Pepper.

In March, I planted all of our favorites — cucumbers, yellow squash, big tomatoes, grape tomatoes, cantaloupes, radishes, lettuces, and, of course, bell peppers.

I had a fair amount of everything early on, but as summer wore on, I got fewer and fewer items, except bell peppers. It seemed like I was picking a peck of them every day. This worked just fine for me, as I happen to love them. I eat them every day — as a salad with whatever else the garden offers, alone with a little salt or as an ingredient in burritos, beans, and soups.

And, of course, I love to photograph them. I realize there is little narrative behind photographing peppers all summer long, but I think they are beautiful, particularly when I am able to leave them on the vine long enough to turn red.

As I write this, I see in the forecast a hard freeze, and by the time you read this, my garden may be done for the year. But, you’ll see me on our patch of green in Byng next March, tilling and planting.

It’s one of the things I do best.

Richard R. Barron | The Ada News

Chief Photographer

Richard R. Barron is Chief Photographer for The Ada News. Richard has been at the News since October 1988. Prior to coming to Ada, Richard worked as staff photographer for The Shawnee News-Star. Richard attended Oklahoma University.