Sunday, October 26, 2008

keeping the harvest

With freezing temperatures eminent, I spent a couple hours in the garden yesterday, harvesting what I could. That included a pile of dry beans, carrots, fennel, parsley, bee balm, a laundry basket and canner full of tomatoes (!), mostly green, and enough lemon balm to make a big carboy of wine, plus 2 quarts of tea. I cooked up the ripe tomatoes and with what I had cut up previously & added 6 quarts of tomatoes to the pantry. The remainder of the bag of apples Dave & Dorothy (Don's parents) gave us made 4 and a half quarts of delicious apple sauce/butter, and the cores are fermenting into apple cider vinegar. We shelled scarlet runner beans yesterday to save for seed. My friends Patrick and Abby helped me cut green tomatoes, and now 5 gallons are soaking overnight to be made into pickles tomorrow. Green tomato pickles are one of my favorite childhood foods. Still a lot to do, including find/acquire some more canning jars.

Patrick brought over some leftover mushroom soup and other culinary goodies. It was a delighted crowd of eaters. Merry brought her neighbor's homemade salsa and some chips, plus a jar of hot and spicy pickled beets. Otherwise we have been eating on some white bean and scarce vegetables chicken broth soup, with rosemary. It's pretty good. It's starting to be good soup weather! It's been great cooking on the woodstove again.

Here is Kaleigh in her first two Halloween outfit choices. Dressed as a pioneer (left), she attended the Where the Wild Things Are event at the Illinois State Museum today. She & Don saw a cool owl show, went on a scavenger hunt, and had a pretty good, although stimulating, time. The outfit on right is Kaleigh as a queen, and she attended the (crowded) farmers market costume contest. Although she was one queen of many at the farmers market, she was the only pioneer at the museum. Hooray for homemade outfits and original ideas. Kaleigh and I went to the free festival downtown yesterday also. It was a bit stimulating as well, with lots of sugared up kids, and a lot of time spent waiting in line. We got to go on two hay rides, which was very strange (daylight, lots of traffic, pavement in every direction). No one fell off that I have heard.

When I was a kid we used to have harvest parties, when there was a full moon in October. We'd have a big bonfire, and roast marshmallows and hot dogs. There was a lot of potluck food also. When the moon rose, we'd go on a hay ride, with my grampa on the tractor. It was great fun. These would often take place after a day of cutting wood up in the hills, taking down a few dead trees and cutting them up to provide my grandparents with a winter's worth of fuel.

And now a pile of dishes are awaiting me in the kitchen, to clean up for further culinary adventures tomorrow. In the cold and breezy day of tomorrow promise, Kaleigh starts her first culture club class, and will go to another free and open swim after homeschooling swimming class ends. And then a warm kitchen!


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