In the midst of summer I dread winter and the cooler shorter days of fall. I enjoy all the seasons, but we have a disproportionately long winter here. I find myself looking forward to spring and summer, but rarely fall and winter. However, now that it is fall, I am reminded just how much I truly do love this season. I think that our fall days here in the interior can be even more fleeting than the long days of summer. The leaves change and drop to the ground over the course of a few weeks. Frosts in late August are common. Snow in September is not unheard of. Fortunately we have been having a warm dry September. Last year at this time we only had yet to harvest root crops. This year everything is still slowly growing and ripening.
The mornings are cool and have us leaving the house wearing socks and sweatshirts. In the warm afternoons we pull off our socks and long sleeves, relishing the feel of clover and dirt beneath our barefeet once more. We close our eyes and turn our faces to the sun, savoring the feeling of the sun on our bare skin.
This week I've made and canned sixteen quarts of chicken stock and six quarts of applesauce. The chicken stock was from our own chicken carcasses and garden vegetables. The apples were local crab apples that a friend picked off her trees and gave us. We've been picking low bush cranberries and a few rosehips. Today I'm going to make and can another big pot of chicken stock and some chicken soup.
We finally have our own ripe tomatoes. I've brought forty pounds of green tomatoes indoors to ripen. My favorites are the Black Krim, Black Cherry and Sun Gold. Some of the tomatoes are ripening well and taste fabulous. Others are lacking in flavor and juicy texture so I'll dry those. I've got a batch of salt brined pickles in one of my glass crocks, and a Kombucha mushroom in the other. I was trying to think of what I was going to do about making Sourkraut, and realized I'll just pack it into some gallon glass jars.
I do forget how much I enjoy cooking and canning indoors when it is cool and crisp outside. I'm looking forward to getting back to bread baking and cheesemaking, just having more time indoors for cooking meals and cleaning without feeling the urge to get out and enjoy the weather while it is here. For a few more weeks we'll scurry about, trying to get the house chores done in the morning while it is cool, and save the garden harvesting and berry picking for the sunny afternoons, trying to get the most out of these lovely autumn days.
FROM THE WILD – S3E8 – GRADE ONE
2 days ago