monique

Woolgathering
2001-09-13 02:56:47 (UTC)

Harvest

I woke up at my usual 4 a.m. this morning and spent a half
hour cleaning up the kitchen, and doing laundry. That done,
I put a cup of coffee in the microwave and went outside to
get the newspaper. The paper comes very early, sometimes as
early as 2 a.m.

The sky was clear and I stopped to admire the moon and
bright stars. If I stand between the shop and the house I
can block out the streetlights and it's really dark. A bit
later, I drank the last of my coffee and watched the dawn.
It was a glorious shade of pink, one of my favorite colors.
I read the paper, checked my e-mail and then the chores of
the day began.

It promises to be another warm day. I'm getting tired of
summer weather. We're going to the country house this
afternoon. That sounds so la-di-dah, "the country
house", but it's what we decided to call it when we first
moved to the house in town, which we refer to as, no
surprise here, the "town house".

We picked some of the apples and pears on Monday after John
came home from work but today we used ladders and picked
most the rest. The winter pears and pie apples will last
until almost Christmas. We have eating apples, applesauce
apples, and pie apples, Bartlett pears and several kinds of
winter pears.

He planted some wonderful old-fashioned trees in that
orchard--Northern Spy, Snow, Sheepnose, Asian pears and Bosc
pears are some. He planted the orchard when the boys were
babies with the idea that the trees would be at the peak of
producing fruit when the boys hit the their teen-age years.
He was right. They're all loaded this year. The
windfalls will go to the sheep.

I'm going to make some chunky applesauce and some apple
butter from the Summer Rambo apples. The fruit is in boxes
and flats now on the picnic table outside the kitchen door
covered with a sheet to keep the yellow jackets out.

We'll need to pick most of the rest of the tomatoes soon.
I'll put the still pinkish and not quite ripe ones in flats
in the garage so let them ripen and freeze the red
ones. John came up with a great and easy way to freeze
tomatoes when he was young, single, and poor. Take the
tomatoes and put them in the freezer. That's all.
Don't wash them or the skins will crack. I usually put as
many as I can fit in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. It easy to
skin and de-seed them when they're frozen and that takes
care of any dirt that might be on them. Plop them into
chili or stew or spaghetti.

I bought a food strainer and sauce maker last spring to turn
the tomatoes leftover from last summer into sauce. I put
two cups of sauce into each gallon-size Ziploc bag and froze
them flat which made them easy to stack.

I'll pick most of the rest of the green peppers, blanch and
freeze those. There aren't many cucumbers left but I'll
pick the best ones for us and give the rest to the sheep.
Same with the zukes. All that will be left are the pumpkins
and there are plenty of them. I planted little pumpkins
which look nice in a row on the hearth and big giant
pumpkins for the boys to carve. The "boys" include John
who's done this with the boys every year since they were
small--he was the tooth fairy too. There are also sugar pie
pumpkins and Casper pumpkins which are pure white. I've
saved some dried up cornstalks and those and the pumpkins
will be part of my porch decorations. I'll also need to
remember to bring home some leaves from the oak tree
and some branches with red berries from the hawthorne tree
to add to the sunflowers and mums and I'll put those in
vases throughout the house.