Monday, August 25, 2008


Not much posting lately; sorry! I now know why books on the old days refer to summer as the busiest season. I'm canning a small but steady stream of strawberry jam from the backyard fruit, and the squashes and beans are doing very well. And since July, when the local blackberry, rubus ursinus, started fruiting, I have been picking and canning those as fast as my secret neighborhood patch fills up. As August began so did the Himalayan blackberries, and thanks to a primo patch of them up in McKinleyville my canning output quadrupled.

Then the plums started....mmm, chutney!

Corn was almost a total bust this year; just hasn't been hot enough. Mine were only three feet tall when the silk started to brown, so I pulled off what we had, and we ate our mini-cobs with dinner one night.

The tomatoes? I'm keeping my fingers crossed. So far, not so good.

I don't know where I get this love of foraging. The fall acorn harvests at Cosumnes River Preserve were heaven to me!

As a small child the other children and I would roam the neighborhood, eating berries off landscaping, or better yet, the figs, kumquats, lemons, plums, and persimmons that grew in people's yards. (Thank you, Zone 20!)

And I know that canning has been in the news lately, the same as nesting and electric bicycles and the joys of back-to-school shopping at Goodwill, as fun yet frugal activity. Sigh. I suppose so, but what about the joy of whipping up a jam roll in the middle of December made with aromatic, flavorful berry jam you made for the price of a couple of teaspoons of pectin and half a cup of sugar? Dude.

But despite reading article after article on the joys of canning, I don't know anyone else who cans! So I could not contain my glee when a friend came through town on his way to Washington with a trunk full of canned fruit (and I mean full) from his backyard, and we had a swap-off. Loganberry? Mulberry? Sure! Nectarine and r. ursinus? Yep. Totally fun, and we got to squeeze in a game of Agricola.

And to make sure summer stays busy, busy, busy, we did a deal with our pollero yesterday in the parking lot of the local K-mart, and came home with two Lakenvelder hens. Today it's raining so instead of canning when I get home from work I need to make a little feeding station shelter so the poultry people's kibble doesn't get wiped out every time it sprinkles. As I am the world's shittiest carpenter, it should be quite a project.

Say, did I get it wrong? Is the busiest season autumn? Aw, man!

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