Not deferential enough: Down at Preservation Hall

Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: Down at Preservation Hall

by Gina Hamilton

It's August, so I am making blackberry jam.  And the way it looks, I'll be making another two batches, at least.

I have noticed that the agricultural year rules my life, and it's a fairly comfortable way to live.  Make rhubarb pie filling in May; make strawberry jelly in June; make blueberry jam in July.  By August, much of the harvest comes in, and the processing kitchen is running full tilt.  This year, cucumbers and tomatoes are slow, so we'll be processing unti late in September. No corn yet, no sunflowers, no pumpkins.  A few regular sweet peppers, several hot peppers.  Grapes are struggling.  It's been a rough year.

In August, we're making apple butter, apple pie filling, apple jelly, apple sauce.  We'll start tomato sauces, salsas, stewed tomatoes.  We made the aforementioned blackberry jam and one tiny jar of raspberry jam, but there will be several more batches of jam before the end.  We'll dry and crumble herbs, storing them in these new jars I purchased for that purpose.  We'll hope for the best with the cukes and try to make some pickles. 

Soon enough, we'll have jars everywhere ... in the jelly cabinet, three deep on the shelf over the sink, piled in boxes on top of the piano ... and then we'll plant field peas until the first frost kills the plants, after which they'll be ploughed back into the soil, and the compost dumped on top.  We can keep some plants going through at least late fall in the greenhouse, but the truth is, the end of October is the end of the growing season, for all intents and purposes.  After that, we'll harvest potatoes and carrots and onions and garlic, but the end of summer means clearing gutters and laying down covers and mulching and all of that good stuff, and hauling out snow shovels and snowblowers and winter coats and cleaning out the wood stoves and pellet stoves and cleaning the chimneys.

We have to add another parking space this fall; no big deal, but we'll have to get four or five cubic yards of gravel, too, after we build up the soil and lay down another board to mark the side of the drive.

We have to bring in all the potted plants, and find them homes in the dining room and library where they spend their winter dreaming of spring.  We have to put the deck chairs away, put the dogs' pool away, put the tools and hose away, turn off the outdoor water, put the solar fountain and lights away.

Eventually, though, all the outdoor work will be done, and we can do a little indoor cleaning, take the screens down and store them, purchase our pellets, shut down the "outside" room and store the pellets on the deck for the winter. 

And then we'll take a break and relax, at least outside.  Inside needs some serious attention, too, so that's what we do as soon as the outside goes to bed for the winter.  

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