Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A storehouse for winter

This year, I have been storing up the share my husband and I have in the farm, as well as our farm market purchases. I have made several types of pickle, including mixed vegetable pickles, a pickle spread, and a couple types of cucumber pickle. I've canned creamed corn and corn relish, peaches, spiced peach jam, sour cherries, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, a few types of tomato sauce, and that doesn't even touch the stuff I've frozen over the summer - or for that matter, the things I am still canning. I have yet to make, but want to, some basil apple jelly, and perhaps some ginger lemon pumpkin chunk preserve. Plus, of course, using the share to base our meals around - this week, we'll be having plenty of summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, and green beans. I find that it helps keep me aware of the food I eat, its value - both nutritional and economic, and the ways in which that food helps connect me to others.

During the onset of Irene, I was with friends who live significantly to the west of my apartment, playing a rather complicated card game as we waited to find out how bad the storm would be. It wasn't bad at all where I live - in fact, my apartment had only one blip in power that I know about, though when I went to the farm after the rain had cleared to harvest the tomatoes which had been thrown by the wind, I saw how lucky I had been. My county is still suffering significant outages. But as we waited to find that out, I contributed to the festivities by pulling out a few of my hard-earned jars - pickled vegetables and pickle spread, along with some soft and lovely spiced peach jam - almost more spiced peaches than jam-like. It was a hit. The pickles quickly disappeared along with the lovely dal our host had prepared, and the spread and peaches accompanied slices of local cheese as these, too were consumed. While I could easily pick up pickled vegetables from the grocery, these were more personal, and had everyone talking about other times we had shared food or cooked together.

And it's a good thing I have cleared out a couple jars, since I'm beginning to run low again. Even the quart jars are slowly filling up and moving to my pantry shelves from the storage area outside my kitchen. Some of these jars will go elsewhere - I'm bringing a quart of tomatoes to my parents this weekend, along with a few pints and half pints of things for my sister. Others have already been promised to friends. And yet others will be reused here. Even so, I'm glad that Mom has found some jars in the garage that I can have - and friends have begun to track down jars for me. I've filled up several dozen jars in all shapes and sizes. And harvest season is hardly over yet. We still have a couple months to go...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


For the second time since starting this journal, I've ridden out an earthquake. This one felt slightly less severe than the last one, and good thing, too. One major difference was that this time, I knew myself to be responsible for others, not merely as a further instance of our responsibility to our neighbor, but because school had not yet let out, and students were in the building getting ready for pick-up.

I am so proud of the students for working together, making sure their classmates were all right, and getting ready to leave in a safe and orderly way. We're taking a day to make sure our facilities are in good order, then it's back to work tomorrow!