Ponder this:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gratitude, supplication, memory, respite

Thank you for all the tomatoes and corn and beans and parsley and basil and carrots and cantaloupes and all the rest of it.  And thank you for the good Husband who sited the garden so it got watered naturally and plentifully, and sun from rise until set, so that each plant has, completely naturally, begotten more fruit than any of its kind ever before in the history of the Earth anywhere. 
I am ever grateful for Thy bounty.

Now please send an army of harvesters with strong legs and arms and backs to tote all this generous goodness from the garden up the hill to the house, to trim off the bits of tomato that I don't want, to hold the plastic bags for pouring in the crushed/blanched/pureed/cut stuff for the freezer. I need help. 
You can't rush this process. You can bring in two hundred tomatoes but you can only cook down just so many at a time. You can't cut kernels off ears of corn too quickly or you get pieces of cob in with the kernels. Certainly not harmful, but if I'm going to the trouble, I might as well do it carefully. I almost begin to sense a genetic memory of women coming together to help each other put up their harvest. And summer kitchens.

In my Childhood Farmhouse that my father's great-grandfather built there was a summer kitchen elled off the back of the house. I never saw it in use for canning and pickling and all that they used to do; in my time it was where the player piano and the fifty or so rolls of music lived. My sister and I would pump the pedal and watch the keys go down all by themselves while we listened to The Sidewalks of New York and other hits. The paper had held up pretty well considering it was all just stacked in unprotected rolls on top of the piano. Where there was a small tear here or there, there would be an odd note.

And now there's just me, coming home from work and gazing at the ripe tomatoes shining like Christmas lights on the drying-down plants. The things taunt me until I grab the basket and hie myself down to retrieve as many as I can carry back. And while I'm there, take the shears and bring back some herbs for sauce. Make supper while I'm "putting up." 

Husband rolls in as dark comes down. His work days (for money) start and end quite a bit later than mine do and he gets to come into the house all filled with good smells. If I could stop working and be home all day, I could get it all done in good order. Of course, I would need to, since we'd be a lot little bit poorer...

Why does everything have to come ripe all at once...?

So. This morning at 4:30 I was wide awake and excited and trepidatious about spending the whole day carting and boiling and steaming and trimming and bagging. And I managed to get three gallon size bags of corn into the freezer. And then I had a hair appointment. And it started to rain. And it's cold all of a sudden after ninety-degrees last week! Today's been a bust, pretty much, for food storage. 

But it's been a great Book-And-Nap Day. 


DJan said...

So much work! You are wearing me out, just hearing about it and I'm grateful for my small little plot. :-)

Olga said...

You will enjoy that corn and tomato sauce and other vegetables put by in the months ahead.

Terra said...

A book and nap day sounds good, and all those tomatoes and corn to process one day soon.

threecollie said...

It is so good to grow and process and use your own vegetables, but I would hate to have to do it with an off-farm job too. Yowsa.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

All the end-of-summer bounty , however wonderful , can overwhelm and it seems so awful not to use every scrap . Somebody once gave us two big buckets full of avocados and I remember being secretly appalled by the responsibility !
Still , your tomato sauce will be so welcome on January evenings when you've just driven home in the snow after a hard day's work . The smell alone will thaw you out !

Barb said...

I wish I lived close-by (at least at harvest time). My own garden of no food but all perennials is going to seed. I must buy my Heirlooms at market. We eat them nightly, already mourning their end-of-growth cycle.

Barb said...

PS I'm glad you're back.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, yes -- I hear you! Thankfully I don't have a full time job so I can spend lots of time putting up our harvest. And, even more thankfully, the corn all came in before the tomatoes.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, yes -- I hear you! Thankfully I don't have a full time job so I can spend lots of time putting up our harvest. And, even more thankfully, the corn all came in before the tomatoes.

rachel said...

I'll stop whining about a few donated bags of beans right now!

Tom said...

Lots of work; but lots of good wholesome food. Congats on a great harvest.

Friko said...

t’was ever thus.
It never pours but it rains and harvest time has always been a very busy time.
In the olden days (say, five years ago) I bottled and froze and dried and prepared like a maniac. Something went wrong with the bottling and tomato puree, which had taken days to boil down with herbs and salt and pepper and garlic, grew mouldy in the jars. All of it went into the compost.

I gave up then.

I still make jam and pickles and wine and jellies, but even that is growing a bit wearisome. Besides who is there to eat and drink it all?

Hilary said...

Oh but come winter, we'll all be envious of your yummy treats from summer. Still it does sound like a lot of work. And a book and nap sounds like the perfect in between refresher.

#1Nana said...

Sounds like my house. We've been doing a little bit each day. I've got sufficient tomatoes in the freezer, but still have tons more in the garden. Now I'm roasting them and making sauce. We've got fruit dehydrating, and jam stacked in the pantry. Today the spouse killed a deer...great, now we've got to do sausage and jerky. It's hard being a farm wife!

Carolynn Anctil said...

It's true, isn't it? Everything seems to need harvesting all at once. We had a dreadful season for gardening. Some things did better than others, mostly the root vegetables that could withstand the wind and hail. We got cold weather and heavy frost for about a week recently, which effectively put an end to my garden. I confess...I'm a little relieved...Mother Nature has turned the heat up again, so we're enjoying summer's last hurrah.
Enjoy your bounty!

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