Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dawn of the Bed

I volunteered to take some photos of a crew of (lawyer!) volunteers putting in two new double-dug, sheet mulched garden beds for a family of seven last Saturday, courtesy of Growing Gardens.  It was cold and fun.  Thank goodness for film, because I hate all the digitals I took.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

thanks, lane! thanks, jeff! thanks, mom!

Lane gave me some peppers.  Quite a few big, lovely, firm sweet peppers.  A wealth.  The photo below shows only half.  At first I thought I was going to mush them all up with tomatoes and sugar and raisins and such and set the big pot on to boil another dozen jars.  I'm so glad I didn't.  (Thanks, Lynne!)

Jeff took pity and built the last piece of the temporary counter top.  It is marvelous.  

Together with the peppers, it is making me feel very rich.

Finally, a food one is meant to burn.  And the feeling of the rich, warm-climate flesh slipping willingly out of its skin.  The smell.  The precious brown liquid pooling in the bowl under the strainer.  More than any crazy Christmas chutney, this is my idea of saving the season.  

I remember my mom peeling roasted peppers.  Her neatly pared fingernails slipping between the charred skin and the bright insides.  To child me it seemed, like most of her activities in the kitchen, one of super-human ability.  Ripping the green tops from the carrots with a turn of the wrist; balancing the wide sheet of pasta on her arm as she turned the crank with her other hand; gently drawing the round, white pepper seeds off the ragged, bright meat.  

Watching my own hands perform this eminently tactile task feels like an echo.  I cannot separate these peppers from the peppers of the past, my plain fingers from her freckled ones.    

A freezer in the basement, full of food.  A handy husband.  A community of generous friends.  An opportunity to have my mom in my kitchen, even while she's a day's drive away.  And a bowl of pepper soup (onions, peppers, chicken stock, butter, salt) as well.  When the old timers say, waste not, want not, I think this is what they mean.  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

outdoor interlude

Wasn't I just taking this down?  I can clearly recall washing the valuable UV resistant plastic, drying it in the sun, folding it carefully.  I hung the pvc pipe in the garage, thrilled to behold the whole garden at once.  Evidently, I didn't post anything about that.  Ah well, this note making is a learning process, just like the growing itself.

In an ideal world, it would be full under here right now - all the seeds I just put in yesterday would have gone in six weeks ago.  Better late than never.  With any luck, they will be up in February, along with the garlic and favas in the left-most bed.  No solstice salad, probably.  

Oh well.  One of the very best things about doing this is the feeling of continuity: the seasons rolling over, the years rolling round.  There's always another chance.

quince and what to do, 2

make sure to skim while liquid boils
test for set
boil 15 minutes
(while waiting, drink coffee and eat previously made quince marmalade and quince jam)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011