Today was beautiful. Blustery, but sunny, and warm enough to wear a T-shirt. I felt like working outside. I finally tore out the remains of the garden (the tomatoes were disgusting, oozy and slug-eaten.), cleaned up all the tar paper that blew off of the new shelter in last night's windstorm, and mucked out the barns. Then I decided to let the goats out for one last go at the blackberries.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
As I followed them around, I noticed that there were actually quite a few blackberries left on the bushes, and the goats were in heaven munching them up. None the worse for wear after their scare a few days ago - you never saw such happy goats. Well I wasn't going to let the goats have all the last blackberries of the year; I ran for a bowl. I think I picked about a gallon of blackberries. Some of them were pretty mushy, it's true, but they weren't moldy and they still had that intoxicating deep purple scent. They weren't really good enough for eating out of hand, but I made three pints of blackberry jam.
It was a day for finishing things off. The last of the pears went into pear-applesauce; a bowl of beautiful and very, very ripe plums went into a plum upside down cake. The last tomatoes, which had been sitting on the counter ripening for a week or so, went into a fiery cooked salsa.
Talking with my Dad on the phone today, I went over my stores of food that I have put up myself this year. There are 10 pints of strawberry jam, 6 pints of raspberry jam, and 12 pints of rhubarb sauce (okay, there are 24 cups. But I didn't want to sound like a maniac). And as of today, 3 pints of blackberry jam. That's enough jam to take us to doomsday, I know, so I'll have to make christmas presents out of it. There are 10 pints of cajeta, but it seems to have separated in the jars and I'm not sure I like the looks of it. There are six quarts of pickled beets, three pints of pickled green beans, and six of pickles, three dill and three bread and butter. Can you tell, I didn't have a pressure canner, so everything is water-bath safe.
In the freezer we have about a dozen quart-sized ziploc bags of blueberries, and the same of strawberries. There are a few bags of chopped kale, too. There is approximately twenty pounds of pork left, mostly ham and sausage. I may yet add some frozen corn kernels. The corn is still standing in the fields, so I assume I'll see some at farm stands soon. And of course, apple season is only half over. I talked to my neighbor over the fence today and she repeated the invitation to come take as many apples as we want. I think my hard cider experiment was a flop, but there's room in the freezer for several gallons of sweet.
I'm so glad I had this day. I had been mentally begging for just a little bit more summer, a little bit more warmth, feeling like I wasn't ready for the sun to leave yet, I hadn't stored enough solar energy to make it through the winter. Working out in the sun all day today went a long way. Someone was listening. Thank you!