Archive for September 14th, 2009

Independence Days Update: On the Cusp of a New Year

Sharon September 14th, 2009

I was awakened this morning by the honking of geese flying south - there’s no sound that so firmly says “gather ye  fresh tomatoes while you  may, those summer things are transient and passing.”  I don’t really mind, but I’m hoping for a few more weeks (some years we get months, last year we had an early frost) of good tomatoes, peppers and eggplant before the inevitable frost.  I still have hot pepper jam to make to go with chevre in the winter, sweet corn and pepper relish, and the corn for winter’s corn chowder to put up, and eggplant to freeze for parmesan….  I’m not ready to let go of summer.

This week will be a busy one, with light posting and preserving, as we get ready for the Rosh Hashana holidays.  We’re having guests both nights, and looking forward to it, but there’s much to be done, including stacking all the wood on our driveway presently blocking handicapped access to the gate for our elderly guests. 

Our one sorrow this week, as we enter into the New Year, is the loss of our cat, Zucchini. He was young, only three, and the perfect barn and house cat - summers were spent chasing mice out of the hay barn and accompanying us on walks in the woods, winters spent curled up on our laps.  He’s been gone five days now, and we’re betting on a fox or coyote.  The kids are heartbroken, and Eric and I are a little heartbroken ourselves.  There’s still a chance he may come back, but the neighbors haven’t seen him and we’re increasingly doubtful.

We’re still on kid watch - Selene is huge and ready to pop (or so it looks) while Maia seems to be a bit behind her - she’s only just bagging up now.  Meanwhile, there are 22 new chicks in our barn.

Official release date of Independence Days is coming up soon - I should have a copy of the book in hand by the end of the month, Independent bookstores will get it in October, and Amazon is delivering November 1.  I’m very excited about it.

Tomorrow is the date of my great corn project - I put up 200 ears of corn.  By the end of the experience I’m so thoroughly sick of corn - of cobs and husks and little bits of sweet corn that stick to your skin and corn silks everywhere… it is my single least favorite preserving job of the year.  But it is *so* worth it to eat sweet corn chowder in the dead of winter, and warm yourself with summer on the tongue. 

And much of the preserving rush is like this - some days I look at the tomatoes and say “oh, lordy, I don’t want to deal with them.”  But then you hear the geese fly by your window, and know that every hour you put in is a meal you don’t have to think about on a short, cold January day, and know that the tomatoes, like all seasonal things, soon will pass, replacing overabundance with insufficiency.

Plant something: Transplanted a few ginko seedlings into a nursery bed

Harvest something: Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, hot peppers, green beans, beets, chard, kale, broccoli, turnips, collards, betony, peppermint, sage, lemon balm, gotu kola, curry plant, rosemary, zucchini, eggs, milk.

Preserve something: Dried zucchini, made tomato sauce, salsa, tomatillo salsa, dried hot peppers, made spicy pickled turnips, made kim chi, dried sweet peppers, froze peppers, froze eggplant, made applesauce

Waste Not: Started some apple peel vinegar, otherwise, the usual composting, etc… 

Want Not: Picked up some kids biographies and bunny cages at a yard sale.

Eat the Food: Nothing really new, although I’ll be testing out some new recipes for Rosh Hashana - I’m doing a vegan Mexican thing one night, and playing with tamale recipes…

Build community food systems: Nothing new, although I may have some allies to take on a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

 How about you?