"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Canning Up The Summer

Today I stood in the kitchen all day long. Virtually all the steps on my pedometer today were counted between the sink and then stove. Its canning season! I got all inspired yesterday and packed all the kids up in the van and drove out of town to my favorite big farm stand and picked up four half bushel boxes of peaches, fresh off the trees in the orchard and then on an impulse nabbed two good sized boxes of tomatoes to boot. I haven't done any canning in at least two years....but I don't think I've canned tomatoes and peaches in longer than that. Bay Area weather is the best for canning.
It was warm today and with a boiling kettle going for blanching and another for syrup to hot pack the peaches it was pretty steamy....but it was nothing like the heat you have in the Midwest in August when you can all day. Its a blessed relief to feel the breeze through the slider and know that the temp is maxing out at 78 or so with extremely low humidity. I remember the way I would sweat right through my shirt and apron in my native climate on food preserving days. Its lovely to can here. The combination of personal satisfaction over the work, the ideal temperatures and the beauty of the gleaming jars in rows all full of produce is a pretty heady instigator. I was dreaming about adding beets, applesauce and dilly beans and maybe some canned corn to the stockpile. Doesn't that sound wonderful! I am part squirrel. I can't help it.

I was very pleased with how excited the boys were to help and how very directable and useful they all are now that they are a little older and there is no baby underfoot or strapped to my back. Everyone can help peel or sort of pack jars and they are all so proud of being capable and helping to make real food for the family. Ru even spiced and marinated the chicken for dinner for me so that I could keep working on the peaches!

We found four chrysalises for Anise Swallowtail butterflies on our street on the only wild fennel plant on the block....it was sticking weakly out of a chain link fence and leaning precariously down towards the sidewalk. We decided the cut it off and take all the chrysalises home and let them change in the more sheltered environment of our kitchen window. We have hatched out two of the four this week and released them into the garden, watching them fly off over our mammoth sunflower and the board fence and into the neighborhood sky. We are still waiting on the last two and hoping we are able to safely launch them all. So much fun to find a new caterpillar to raise and a new butterfly to hatch. I would expect that monarchs must be here too although I am not seeing them much this time of year. They were around a lot in the winter, in between the rains....a friend told me that there was a wintering cluster of monarchs on the palm trees at the golf course in our town this last winter and many years before. I have to remember to go look for them this year with the boys....apparently the gold course men are very kind about allowing adoring butterfly fans in to have a peek, even without a putter or a ball.

We've joined a co-op for the fall for homeschooling for the boys and I will be helping out as a teacher in the program too. We are going to give classical schooling a try and test our hands at Latin and history cycles and the learning of rhetorical method. I am most worried about teaching our kids to be big headed snobs who are no earthly use but most excited about the idea of them all learning tin whistle together, attending group field trips and giving speeches once a week in class. Classical Conversations will be a new adventure. I'm ready for a little more academic community here and a little more pushing strenuous goal setting too, as the boys get older it feels more important to me.


1 comment: