Though fall didn’t officially start until today, this past Saturday sure felt like fall here.
It rained all day. Well, “rain” is maybe not the appropriate word, more like “mist” or “drizzle” or even “spit.” Whatever.
The point is, it was WET.
But you kinda get used to that in the Northwest, and the show must go on (usually- I do draw the line at picnics in the rain…), so our fall rituals continued anyway. The whole day was spent doing things to make life better in the winter:
Wood to heat the house with the wood stove, and fresh food preserved at it’s most flavorful to combat the blah-ness of winter fare (insert shudder here at the thought of the hard store-bought tomato).
Here is my husband and brother-in-law running a wood splitter they rented to take care of all the free large rounds of wood we’d been collecting. This is such a time and body saver over hand-splitting all those large rounds- my husband was not nearly as sore as he’s been in the past after doing it by hand.
My brother-in-law came up with the idea of the “wood bank.” We keep it at our house, but we all contribute any free wood sources and labor and cost of the splitter (only once a year). We work together and share the load and the wood – it’s a great idea.
Our kids helped most of the day, too, stacking and carrying wood. I didn’t get a picture (did I mention it was raining?) but wanted to make sure they were given credit!
While the wood people were working, I was “puttin’ up the harvest.”
Poor wood people.
The one fruit I love and don’t grow (or can get for free) is peaches, so this year I bought 20 pounds to can and freeze. Freezing is the easiest, but I like the firmness of canned, so I do some raw-pack canned peaches as well (which is why they float more in the jar, but I like that they are less processed).
I really would like to add a couple of peach trees, but have heard they are a lot of work pruning and such. We’ll see.
Then I had bags of green beans that had been waiting in my fridge for the school week to end and I had time to deal with them. Luckily, I didn’t loose too many in the wait. I pickled another batch (see how-to here) and froze the rest.
I think I will have a few more before the season ends- enough to eat for sure and maybe get a few more bags for the freezer.
I managed to cook a batch of Roasted Tomato Sauce to go in the freezer, too.
And while all this was going on, I was also running my dehydrator loaded with Italian plums I had picked with my other brother-in-law (isn’t family great?). He had access to a tree loaded with plums and I ended up with 4 large containers full! I canned a batch of plum sauce (recipe to come) and the dehydrator has been going non-stop since last Friday.
We love dried Italian plums. And no, they are not prunes, even though prunes now want to be called “dried plums.” They taste different, much more like a dried fruit leather with a sweet/tart taste and they have a better texture.
And they don’t cause that other thing prunes are known for, but that I’m not mentioning.
We’ll just leave it at that.