The sunflowers are bowing their bright yellow sunny faces to the last days of summer. Quart bags of frozen wax and green beans are stacked in the freezer. Jars of of green and yellow dilly beans, tomatoes, salsa, chile sauce, garden special and spaghetti sauce are filling up the shelves in the root cellar.
Yesterday Cliff canned thirty five quarts of tomatoes. I had to work and run errands and he spent the day canning in the kitchen by himself. Fond memories of helping his mom can food in her later years linger in his heart. He can still hear her telling him “Cliff, make sure you wash the lids with Ivory Soap, boil the rings and lids, wash the tomatoes, wipe the tops of the jars so the lids will seal.” He cheats a little (don't tell mom) and doesn't use Ivory soap or boil the rings and tomatoes turn out just fine. I self taught myself to can food in my early twenties. Canned tomatoes, venison, and carrots were the mainstay of our diet when my children were young. I did the majority of it by myself. Today I'm grateful that Cliff's mom taught him to can as I enjoy his help and his company in the kitchen. Today we'll be making some 'garden special' with tomatoes, summer squash, celery, green peppers and onions. We use the concoction in chili, vegetable soup and to make swiss steak.
After a three year sabbatical, the old apple tree out back is dropping tart little apples that I've been gathering and tediously peeling for pies. The aroma of the pies, made with flaky pie crust with lard rendered from local pork, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom permeating the kitchen is another reminder of autumn's arrival.
Last weekend my eleven year old grandaughter Paige spent the weekend with us. As I was taking a pie out of the oven she asked “Gramma, are we going to make apple butter this year?” I glanced up at the postcard from Sizerville State Park attached to the refrigerator door. I had been debating whether or not to attend the 23rd annual Autumn Festival that Cliff and I have attended for at least twenty years. We missed a few years due to rain and didn't attend last year because the whole apple crop was lost to a late spring frost.
to be continued.......