THIS is the post I meant to write for Friday, before I got distracted by my oldest. 😉 I tell you what, though, I’ve got it so much easier than my mother ever did when I went to college — it’s a constant conversation that I have with that kid, whether that’s on the phone or through apps. Good times, my friends, these are good times.
Anyway. These past few weekends have been busy ones, just in terms of the projects I’ve been working on in my kitchen. I love a good kitchen project — and with my jerk of a stomach (to recap: No artificial anything if I want to stay upright), I really like knowing where my food comes from and what’s in it. Bonus that I live in an agriculturally-rich area and literally know my farmers by their first names.
(Another bonus that a few of those farmers are women. Looking at you, Lisa and Trina and Ellen and Anastasia. These women rock. Take Trina as an example: She’s a social justice role model in this community, and she’s upgrading her picker cabins just because she wants to — because where a person lives is important, she says. How can you not get behind that as a consumer?)
Because I love a good project, I tend to get a little, shall we say, optimistic when I’m at my favorite farm stand or favorite farmers’ market stall. Bulk basil? Bring it! Eggplant? Yesssssss. (Say that a la Napoleon Dynamite, incidentally.) Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! Apples and plums and grapes and pears! Carrots! Herbs and dried beans and potatoes and zucchini and summer squash and …
I mean, how do you NOT go crazy in a situation like this? I honestly have no idea.
After I get all my bags home, though (and one more farm stand / farmers’ market bonus: Everyone loves it when you bring your reusable bags), and I start lining everything up on the counter, overwhelm is common. It’s a good problem to have, and I’m always amazed at how much food I can get for $50 or whatever. And my pantry and freezer are looking awesome because of it.
But last weekend I had a bit of an epiphany. I spent all day Saturday drying apples and plums and tomatoes, making zucchini muffins and roasted tomato soup, cutting corn off the cob for the freezer, and prepping the fruit and veggies we’d eat throughout the week. I was feeling accomplished. I woke up on Sunday ready to do more of the same: I canned the crock pot apple butter I’d put together the night before, made a double batch of pesto (huh, when you actually follow directions, it turns out kind of great), and continued with the fruit drying. But then noon hit, and I was looking around like, you know what? I think I’m done.
I’ve been treating the season like a race, and while the finish line is off a bit yet, I’m going to take a quick break in the bleachers* and just, like, enjoy the clean air we finally have, read a book, and try to convince the kittens that WE DO NOT WALK ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER.
Hey, guess what? There they are on the kitchen counter as we speak.
I’d still like to dry more apples, make more apple butter, make peach butter!, get a few more tomatoes canned or in the ol’ freezer. But I can do that in the coming weeks. And this past weekend, I did nothing but read and write and visit my sweet Grandma (who was so pumped about the applesauce and peaches I’d canned for her in Grandma-sized portions) and play with Johanna and the kittens and send Abby lots of Snapchats. It helped the house was already in order.
And it was kind of awesome.
Quick fire update, or lack thereof: It rained through Wednesday, cooler temperatures have remained, and we even had some blue sky on Saturday and Sunday. The interstate opened in both directions Sunday, which was great timing for visiting my Grandma, who lives in Washington. Although not gonna lie, it’s a little spooky driving and seeing such extensive fire damage. It’s really heartbreaking and astounding and overwhelming to finally see it in person. It got much closer to us than I had imagined.
But the most amazing part of all of this is that the air has been crisp and clean. It’s just … like, walking out of the house or the office, and being able to see the hills in the distance, and being able to breathe, it’s a huge relief. It’s a gift. The fire is still not contained, but it’s not the raging crazy beast it was.
Nothing like clean air and water to make a girl swoon.
*Senior year of high school, having to take fitness tests in PE, Mara and I “ran” the mile in 18 minutes because we took a break on the bleachers. The PE teacher said he was going to fail us if we didn’t get moving, but you know what? We sat there a bit longer to prove a point (that we were idiots, I guess) and we still got an A. The end.