But on to my usual Monday check in: the Independence Days Challenge. The idea is to try to do something from this category every day or week. Some are easier than others.
1. Plant something- No, although I have a start of a yucca plant from my parents that I need to get in the ground. They have had yucca as long as I can remember. They have never done anything with it but J15 was excited to hear about it, asking if it is the one you can make soap out of. I don't know what particular subspecies this one is but Dad said the parent plant had a huge tuber/root. V and I have also been talking about where to put the herb garden. I know nothing will be planted this fall but I'd like to figure out where it will go sooner rather than later.
2. Harvest something- Let's see... tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant, pears...I think that's about it.
3. Preserve something- tomatoes (crushed and diced), mixed pickled veggies, peach/pear salsa, tomatillo salsa.
4. Waste not- Recycled, composted, used cloth bags at the store as usual. Remembered to take a cooler and boxes when we went to visit my Mom, knowing that she would fill them.
5. Want not- 10 lbs of sugar for storage, half a bushel of pears- some for preserving, some for eating fresh, frozen sweet corn from my Mom into the freezer.
6. Build community food systems- This afternoon my friend Jim came over. He lived across the street at our old house and is the unit clerk on one of the units I cover at the hospital. Jim is a gourmet cook but something he had never done was canning. He has been asking me since last year to teach him the basics. So today was the day. I had hoped to have enough tomatoes but we made "End of Summer Salsa" instead. It has tomatoes, peaches, pears, jalapenos, onions and other tasty treats. It seemed like an unlikely combination but was really tasty! I will give Jim some of it but we will have most of it for our stores. It was interesting to teach someone other than my children about canning. He's good at the cooking end of things but his knowledge of gardening is sorely lacking. He tried to pick my ripening paprika peppers, thinking they were tomatoes... maybe next year I'll teach him about gardening....
7. Eat the food- Easy! We had a lovely eggplant and tomato sauce over pasta for dinner. No large slab of grilled meat for our Labor Day dinner, but I can't think of anything better to show off the fruits of our labors. We've had new potatoes, stuffed chilis, tomato sauce and fresh veggies.
This week will be busy. I12 will be starting classes for confirmation at church on Wednesdays this week. I've got eggplant from my Mom that I need to prepare and freeze and some more tomatoes now that I'll need to deal with. I've also now got the half bushel of pears plus a bag of some that were drops that will need to be worked up. Ah, no rest for the weary. I need at least one more day off to get caught up... but that won't happen.... I see many hours of pears in my future.... Followed by apples in a few weeks..... But it's all worth it in the end.