Autumn or Fall as some people refer to it is one of my favorite times of the year. To me it is like the Earth taking in a deep breath just before a long slumber.
Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn
Everyone feels the pull of Autumn. Plants and trees make their final push to grow, dig deep, and get ready for a long sleep. They then blanket the ground with their leaves, knowing that they will help them survive and produce for another year.
Autumn is a time for reflection, and a time for thanksgiving. It is a time to look back over the year, applaud your accomplishments, and to learn from your mistakes. It is a time to reflect on what worked on the farm or in the garden, and what did not work. A time to make goals and plans for the next planting season. It is also a time to slow down, to enjoy, and rest. Autumn issues in winter, and winter is a time when the Earth sleeps, and gets ready for the wakening of Spring, and the hard labor of Summer.
I enjoy Autumn, the change changes in the color, the changes in the weather. It is the time of preparation for the next planting season.
I hope that everyone will allow some time in the next few weeks to look at the Earth, what it has given us this year, and be thankful for its bounty. And to also reflect on next year, and what we will do with the partnership we have with it and nature.
One of my very favorite summer chores is canning. I know, weird, but I love it.
There is something absolutely satisfying to me about sitting down, with a chipped enamel-wear dishpan and a piles of vegetables in front of me. I carefully and quickly peel each vegetable, quietly channeling the energy of all my grandmothers before me who did the same chore to ensure her family’s survival for another year. It feels primal to me, that desire to provide food and comfort, while it is not longer necessary to preserve my own food, the drive to do so is in my bones and manifests in my flesh.
The beets are all peeled and cold packed in jars, ready for the pressure caner, beets are a family favorite.
Carrots washed and peeled, I love the soft, translucent orange and light yellow of the roots when I peel them. I had planned on having dark purple carrots as well, but they had a different surprise in mind for me, something I will write about later.
Jars of raw packed carrots, they too will go in the pressure caner. They come out the prefect texture for eating, my kids will eat them cold right out of the jar and they are soft enough for the babies to eat too.
And last, but not the least by a long shot, a batch of sun ripened apricots fresh from a neighbors tree ready for the dehydrator. In the winter they will be soaked and cooked with buckwheat for a warm sweet breakfast, much like a breakfast my great-grandmothers would have served to their hungry loves on a cold winter morning.
We had a killer crop of beets and carrots this year. They loved the deep mulching methods we used this year and all our hard work sure paid off with the root vegetables.
Fresh beets and carrots are absolutely the best and we all enjoy eating them fresh roasted or raw, but these lovely ladies are meant for canning, to be stored for food when the winter winds howl. The first of August we will be planting our fall crop of beets and carrots, those will stay stored in the ground until the first hard frost and then they will be roasted for autumn dinners when the land turns golden and smells of earth and pumpkins.