Late August Busyness.

My feet are swollen and feel like someone’s been beating on them. If I’d known that I’d be continually on my feet all day I wouldn’t have walked the 4.5 mile loop with its 3 hills – two long and steep, more than half the loop on gravel. A couple of weeks ago while walking the last quarter of a mile down the final hill I took a step that landed wrong on a small rock, rolling my ankle over to the road. Fortunately my walking stick kept me from sprawling headlong down the hill.

Glancing around to see if anyone had noticed my clumsiness I was relieved that the early Sunday morning hadn’t brought people out and about yet. Gritting my teeth I hobble-walked home to put my foot into a tub of ice. Oh that felt good after the hot sweaty walk. I’ve been trying to get my time back down to under 15 minute miles. There was a time I could do that loop averaging 13 minute miles. Hills, gravel and all. Spinning with a spindle as I walked slowed the time down to about 18 minute miles, though my arms and shoulders got a good workout. Sometime during July I abandoned the spindle in order to speed up. Perhaps when I can walk consistently under 15 minute miles then I’ll add the spindle back into the mix. Meanwhile I’ve enjoyed using the walking stick.

Having sprained my ankle numerous times through the years I’ve learned that it’s best to keep moving and not to baby it more than necessary. I did tape it up with athletic tape for several days to give it stability.  (Once upon a time I studied sports medicine and was the athletic trainer at the college I attended. I taped hundreds of ankles for the women’s and men’s sports teams.)  By this morning I’d pretty much forgotten about the ankle.

Until late this afternoon. Green beans are hanging by the handful from the strings; tomatoes are dripping off the vines (my best year ever for tomatoes); ears of corn are drying on the stocks; my daughter brought a large paper grocery bag full of plums she picked from their tree which has limbs cracking from the the weight; a neighbor shared his abundance of zucchini; Ed came home Wednesday evening with 6 pounds of Asian pears. Everything needed to be preserved in some form.

Putting visions of spending the afternoon under the tree with my knitting on hold I fortified myself with a bowl of yogurt mixed with ground flax seeds, homemade chia pudding and a handful of frozen cranberries in anticipation of a long day ahead. First the Roma tomatoes. Romas were sliced into four lengthwise, filling the dehydrator. A large turkey roaster was filled with more olive oil drizzled Romas and placed into the oven. Next commenced the washing and pitting of the plums and filling my largest pot to slowly cook. As they were simmered I peeled a hunk of ginger root and pureed it with some water, squeezed out all the liquid using a cheesecloth then set the ginger juice (wow is that stuff potent!) on the stove to cook with sugar and water for a syrup to pour over the Asian Pears. By then the tomatoes were roasted and ready to ladle into pint jars to go into the canner. Our large camp stove, perfect for canning, is permanently set up on the back porch during the summer so the kitchen won’t be a baking oven.  As soon as they came out of the boiling water bath in went the ginger pears. By then it was well into afternoon and my feet were aching so I took a 7 minute lunch break to give them a rest before tackling the plums and working into the evening.

The kitchen is cleaned up, the pots and canner emptied and dried, a few tomatoes are finishing up the dehydrator. It’s been a long day and I didn’t get to the beans. Tomorrow afternoon is the wedding of a young man we’ve known since he was born. Monday I’ll tackle the beans, zucchini and corn.  Already we’ve put up 21 pints of carrots, and 24 pints of green beans, jars of plum sauce (we love that stuff!) and applesauce. There are more carrots in the garden, winter squash and I have high hopes of planting another row of beets and some broccoli for winter.

Most of the drying tomatoes have been packed away in 2 pint jars.
Seven pints of plum sauce (no sugar) are ready to eat and use in cakes.
Six and a half pints of plum jam cooling on the outside table.
Five pints of roasted canned romas. Five pints of ginger asian pears.

Silly me, I thought summer was for swimming, weaving, cleaning and combing, or carding, fleeces and spinning!

There are two ongoing projects that I’d thought would be finished long ago: a Great Pyrenees challenge and a simple pair of boot socks for my granddaughter.

I hope you all have had a chance to enjoy the bounty of the summer season.

PS Before someone suggests it: I often do sit when preparing food for preserving but today with all the multitasking going on it just wasn’t feasible.

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Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Great Wheels aka Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing my fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays we try to set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

6 thoughts on “Late August Busyness.”

  1. WOW….just WOW.

    I have to say I have a bit of tomato envy going on right now…this has been my second worst year for tomatoes…the first was the year the deer ate every ripe tomato in my garden the minute they ripened….OOooo was I angry.

    1. Sorry to stir up tomato envy! A doe and her two yearlings were devastating our garden forcing us to put up a deer fence around it in June this year. Nothing else was deterring them. They’d walk right past me and start nibbling in broad daylight. It’s a bummer seeing all that ugly fence between us and the garden but well worth protecting the long hours of work and food.

  2. I managed to grow some pole beans and potatoes this year even though I really don’t have a veggie garden. I have lovely nasturtiums, too. The last time I tried growing tomatoes, a few years back, my labrador retriever picked them right off the plants and ate them. Of course he didn’t do it in broad daylight, but waited sneakily until I put him out in the yard for his last pee before bedtime. Under cover of darkness he stuffed his face with tomatoes. I’m wondering what you put in your plum sauce. It sounds really good. My mother-in-law used to make plum jam, with sugar but no pectin. She just cooked it down until it was thick. I personally think there is nothing more delicious than green beans from the garden. Oh, the flavour!

  3. Since the starving deer have devoured my tomato plants, I don’t have much tomato sauce to make this year.
    I do wish you lived closer so you could tape up my ankle which I sprained (but not badly) this morning. It’s wrapped in an ace bandage but I’d prefer professional taping.
    I hope you are able to knit and weave and rest that ankle now.

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