Just before I flew to Minneapolis, I harvested everything worth harvesting in the garden, fearful of a killing frost. There wasn't a great deal--or certainly it didn't seem so at the time. The tomatoes were pretty well kaput, the green beans had been done for a while, the summer squash and zucchini were so over. What I was left with were a few small eggplants and a variety of peppers. I stashed them in the fridge, lacking time to deal with them before the trip.
On my return I discovered, to my surprise, that there were still a few tomatoes worth picking, and quite a few tomatillos. Oh yes, and some more peppers. I don't know when we've gone this far into October without a frost.
Yesterday I got up full of purpose: not to let all those peppers go to waste. I spent hours roasting and skinning Anaheims, poblanos, and bell peppers, cutting the latter into strips for roasted pepper salad. And I have a kettle full of hot peppers and cubanelles soaking in salt water, ready to pickle and can later today. I still have eight giant bell peppers waiting to be stuffed, cooked, and frozen--instant dinners in the freezer. Ah, the bounty of summer!
Then it was out to the other garden to begin picking the dried beans. Jacob's cattle beans are an heirloom variety that came to the US with German immigrants. We had planted two rows, and the plants were loaded with pods. We have several plastic grocery bags stuffed to bursting with the dried pods, waiting to be shucked. James helped me pick, and we were able to finish the two rows. I started on the peregion beans, a variety we haven't tried before, but which I chose because of their coloration, a mocha background with fine-line, dark brown markings. (They are supposed to keep their color contrast after cooking. We'll see.) I didn't get very far down that row because of the cold wind that ultimately drove me indoors. We still have a couple of rows of black turtle beans to harvest, too.
Basil doesn't much like temperatures below 50 degrees F., so I decided it was time to harvest. Actually, the Thai basil seems to tolerate cool temps better than the Genovese (the kind usually used for making pesto), which was spotted as if with frost damage when I cut the plants last night. Today I'll be drying both varieties in the food dryer.
Still to be harvested: winter squash, carrots, leeks, and gourds. There's no rush with these. As long as we get the carrots and leeks out of the ground before the earth freezes, they'll be fine. And the gourds we'll let dry on the vine as long as possible. Next weekend we're having our annual pumpkin harvest; friends will come and choose a pumpkin and maybe some ornamental gourds and dried corn stalks as well.
But I'm still not satisfied. We're going out to a farm market or two today to buy some broccoli for freezing (ours did poorly this year), some tomatoes if they're still available (should be, since there's been no killing frost), and some apples. I need to make salsa to give away and to get some applesauce made; I'd also like to dry some apple slices.
And then there's the fruit I froze when I didn't have time to make jam out of it during the summer ...
I hope to write about our vacation and put up some photos before too much more time goes by. But this is just a very busy time of year for us, and other things have to wait in line behind the harvesting and the putting-by of food.
one of my favorite poets, declined Laura Bush's invitation to give a
presentation at the National Book
Festival held on September 24, nor did she attend a dinner at the Library
of Congress, nor the breakfast at the White House.
She explains why in an open letter
to Laura Bush published in The Nation, which ends:
I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear
witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its
writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.
But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I
sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see
to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.
What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from
the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed
this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting
"extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where
they will be tortured for us.
So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and
shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean
linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I
could not stomach it.
If only we could convince a few Democrats to speak even half
as bluntly, perhaps we could begin to set this nation back on the road to peace
Okay, I've had a good rest, harvested and "put by" a lot of veggies, and I'm ready to blog again.
I don't know what this blog will be, truthfully. I'm hoping it will just sort of evolve. I know I need to update my links and do a lot of general housekeeping, which I hope to do after I return from a brief vacation to the North Country. (Ack! I have to fly! Ack, ack!)
But I do want to note that a friend and I are embarking on a joint blogging venture: Hyperboless. It's a current affairs/political blog, and when I blog politically, that's where my posts will be. Well, all my well- reasoned posts, that is: rants conducted purely for venting will still be here on View from the Loft. And you know I just gotta vent sometimes!
Anyway, do check out the debut of Hyperboless. First post is a good take on the most recent Supreme Court Justice nominee.
And do stop by now and then. Posting will be nonexistent for a few days after tomorrow, since I will be enjoying the gorgeous colors of Michigan's Upper Peninsula with my spouse.