It’s still harvest season around here. Which means I’m BUSY.
I love it. I’ve always wanted to live in harmony with the seasons. I’ve always loved the thought of planting in the spring, tending in the summer, harvesting and preserving in the fall, and turning inward in the winter. It’s how our ancestors have lived since the beginning of time.
I recently read (and LOVED) Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation, which got me really revved up for preserving this autumn. (Seriously: read this book. She’s a wonderful writer and so full of wisdom. I loved her Jewish faith-infused perspective on the Welcome Table as well). But my enthusiasm for food storage and preservation has meant putting my art on the back burner for a bit (And never before has the back burner been a more apt metaphor).
In the last week or so, I’ve canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and pasta sauce. I’ve chopped and frozen sweet peppers and grated more zucchini for the freezer, too.
I helped butcher three pigs with my parents, my sister, my aunt and my uncle. We made smoked sausage, bacon, ham, liverwurst, and an assortment of Mennonite breakfast delicacies I don’t know the English words for. (Do you remember the “cracklings” described in one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? We call it griven, and eat it for breakfast with homemade bread and strawberry jam. It’s kind of like ground-up bacon, except instead of being cured with smoke, is made through a process of slow simmering and stirring in a big cauldron of bubbling lard. It’s to die for.) We also cut pork chops and loin roasts and stew pieces.
After all the cutting, grinding, stuffing, smoking, frying and packaging, which took an entire day, I then had to spend an evening organizing and inventorying my freezers. Which was sorely needed after all the fruits and veggies I recently started storing in there.
In the upcoming weeks, I plan to do more tomato-canning with my mom, before taking care of the squash and the rest of the peppers in the garden. I’m probably forgetting something. Oh, I also want to dry and store all my fresh herbs.
I want so badly to be a farmer as well as a writer and a present parent. But it’s HARD to do it all.
I mentioned on Facebook that all the tomato-canning was making me an impatient mother, and I hate that. And my writing life is almost nonexistent right now.
I’m trying to make peace with the fact that different seasons will require different emphases on these different aspects of my life.
Right now, my time must be devoted primarily to the garden and the kitchen. It will change yet.
I’ll get back to writing more frequently soon.
Are you doing any harvesting or preserving this fall?
Image courtesy of photon_de.