Saturday, October 6, 2012

Autumnal Absence

The drought conditions in the midwest yielded something positive.
The brussels from my dad are usually really sandy from the dirt the rain kicks up as they grow.
This year?  Sand-free brussels!
I guess I should have seen that coming.  The busiest time of year at my work coincides with the peak of Minnesota's harvest season.  During the end of August through September, I burn my candle at both ends trying to satisfy my squirrel-like instincts to get as much as I can set aside for winter while also staying late and working through lunches at my job.  So, it should come as no surprise to me that I didn't end up with many pictures or (any!) blog posts over the last month (add to that, very few visits to the gym and way too many slapdash dinners, if we are being honest here).  Still, I didn't see it coming!  Next year, I will know better.

After I thought I had done all of the preserving I could bear to do for the season, my dad showed up with a station wagon full of veggies.  I am grateful for my Dad CSA, but it sure comes at inopportune times and with little-to-no warning!

Tomatoes, cabbages, pumpkins, squashes, peppers, zucchini, broccoli,
kale, collards, chard,  cucumbers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower...
and  probably more that I have already forgotten.
Flats and boxes and bags and burlap sacks full of produce!
That look on his face?  That look says, "Here!  You take it! That way if it rots, you will be the one with the guilt, not me!"  You see, neither of us can stand when veggies go to waste, so he knows if he passes it on to me, I will work my damdest to get it canned/frozen/dried/eaten before it goes bad.  Really, the solution would be to plant less, but that strategy never seems to grow legs.

This time around, I got smart and I started utilizing my dad's strategy.  I identified others who would appreciate veggies and I started to unload them on those people.  I passed on tomatoes and peppers and squash and greens and I kept saying, "Are you sure you don't want to take more?"  Even with my produce-foisting efforts, there was still no shortage of madly squeezing in batches in the dehydrator, blanching and freezing, pickling, roasting, fermenting, slow roasting, milling and canning sauce and baking happening at my house.

dried bell peppers - delicious in winter soups
Cucumber Relish and Tomato Sauce

Throughout all of the processing and preserving that I did, it tended to occur to me to take a picture only once I had gotten to the end of the day.  The point at which I was nearly done and it was time to take the bowl of scraps out to the compost pile.  The point at which I tended to be a bit delirious with fatigue and tending to see my bowl of scraps as a jumbled up timeline of my day's efforts.  I admit, even when I am well rested, I think there is a certain still life-esque beauty to the bits that were left behind.

And then it happened.  The weather got cold.  The plants started to get crunchy and dry and stopped growing.  The harvests got smaller and smaller.  Last weekend, I cooked a whole bunch and then this week, I ate it all!  All of my efforts were for now!  It feels indulgent to spend that time and energy in the kitchen and then eat the results right away.

It is funny how that works.  The seasons here are such a blessing for me.  I tend to go full-force into a few aspect that go along with each season.  By the time the next season kicks in, I am ready to shift focus.  My next focus?  Knitting!  Lots and lots of knitting!  

1 comment:

  1. ok, you definitely need chickens! i looked at those bowls of scraps and thought "chicken feast!" My girls would be so happy to devour all of that.


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