preserve October

The days are getting shorter, and they will continue to do so until the winter solstice.  The chickens and the ducks make their way into the coop at 6 pm now.  Our evenings are spent curled up by the wood stove with the dogs.  Last week we had the first REAL rain since April.  I love this time of year.

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My efforts turn from growing, to putting food by.  Much has been done but there is a great deal more to do.  I play a game of “pretend.”  As if I can’t drive our car to the closest grocery store all winter.

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We parted with forty more pounds of our pork on Sunday, making room in our freezer for November turkeys.  We have garlic, potatoes, onions, and 13 monster pie pumpkins in our makeshift “root cellar” (someday a root cellar).  We are still hoping for one more good harvest of root crops and brassicas before winter.

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Tomatoes are the queen of our winter meals.  They make an appearance on homemade pizza and spaghetti each at least once a week.  There isn’t much left in our fields now, which have been desecrated by rodents.  I glean all I can from them.  Green tomatoes rest on every available surface waiting their turn in the hot water bath, herbs dry above the woodstove, and the basil is chopped down for one last batch of freezer pesto.

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And the truth of it?  I’m getting tired of putting food up.  Applesauce, apple butter, fermented tomatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes, pesto, relish, plum jam, dill pickles, tomato jam, prunes, sun dried tomatoes, tomatoes in their own juices, dried herbs, rendered lard, shredded zucchini…it’s exhausting.  And the tomatoes just keep coming.

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But this is just a season.  Soon frost will come, fall will make way to winter, and I will wish I could have preserved October for just a little while longer.

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