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Archive for September 4th, 2013

When I was in 7-8th grade-ish we had what I refer to as “year of the peaches”  When you are an Erickson and it’s peach time it’s very all encompassing.  Like 20 bushels worth that were sorted according to ripeness and all canned and/or jammed.  Crazy busy time of year but man, home canned peaches were worth it.  The year of the peaches the peaches arrival was carefully timed to hit just after Mom and Dad got home from picking Russell up in Oklahoma.  They drove and were gone for a while {maybe a week?}  Perfect timing, aside from having bushels of peaches to put up when they got home — but hey they were bringing another set of hands that could help home.

The peaches came early that year.  Like right before {I don’t know how many days, but not enough} before they needed to leave for Oklahoma.  Mom asked Dad what they were going to do because you don’t waste that much food, there was no way that they would keep that long, and that’s a lot of canning to do in just a couple of days.  Dad’s reply in his typical calm manner?  “well, we’ll just have to get them put up”  Those of you who knew Grandma know that there weren’t very many ox in the mire situations that would have her miss church and non Sunday activities such as Grandpa messing with the horses or let’s say canning were not acceptable.  Except the year of the peaches.  Everyone stayed home to can but they sent me, first time I considered straight up ditching church because I just didn’t know how to explain what peach season was like at our house.  We didn’t can a pressure cooker full and a few left to eat.  We canned, and canned and canned and then had peaches and cream for dinner and that was a normal year.  There were just a few days to accomplish what did for over a week.  It may be my imagination but I think we had extra peaches that year too.

Fast forward from 1990 {or so} to 2013.  I haven’t ordered peaches, much less in massive quantities but my garden has done well for the amount of time I’ve put into it — at least once you get through the weed forest back to the veggies.  My tomatoes have gone crazy.  Before I knew it they were too big for cages so it’s a wild uncontrollable kind of crazy.  Then we’ve been very rain which has made my tomatoes like to split.  Split tomatoes do not store for very long and I have a lot.

Lemon Boys, can you find the split?

Over exposed early girls.  See the background?  Those aren’t picked yet.  *sigh*

Part of my haul from last night

I unloaded my car and hauled everything downstairs, pulling out a bag of tomatoes to take to work {bacon and lettuce from the cafeteria, tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden} and some for a coworker and stuck everything in the fridge hoping for the best because these need to deal with immediately if not sooner tomatoes I can’t touch until days after they were picked.
I hear Dad’s calm voice saying “we’ll get them  put up” and inside I’m ready to explode thinking of how I have so many other things to do besides spend days off with tomatoes.  My plans for tomorrow heartbreakingly fell through so I’m going to pick up the pieces and sort through tomatoes.
It’s not just the tomatoes though, I harvested a small section of corn and ended up with a laundry basket full.
More  corn than we can eat and it’s just the beginning

The squash that keep coming regardless of the squash bug invasion of 2013 that I’m losing.  The golden zucchini I can freeze and use in a 101 different ways, but the summer squash?  Not much to do there.

Soooo grateful for an old run down fridge downstairs!

Sorry all the pictures suck, I don’t know that I’ll get a camera over there before winter that isn’t attached to my phone.  

Yesterday when I was harvesting after a 12 hour shift until dark I started a list that was a titch on the negative side.
I don’t garden because…
  • Single parents have too much time on their hands and need something to keep them busy.
  • 12 hour shifts just aren’t long enough
  • I enjoy hanging with squash bugs, powdery mildew, and massive amounts of pollen
  • Worrying about the wind blowing over the corn at just a little too early to harvest and losing it all helps with my worry list (along with assorted other problems we’ve had this year).
  • I love broken fingernails
  • I enjoy watching the weather channel and feeling like a heathen wishing that would not rain quite so much just over my tomato plants
  • squash bugs, have I mentioned them yet?  they’re ugly, squishy and gross.  And creepy.
  • I love pulling weeds that are taller than me!
So I turned it around.  I garden because…
  • It’s an important skill for me to have.  We may not have a lot of variety this year, but we won’t be going hungry.
  • There is something a little Wonder Woman-ish about doing a garden on your own.  It’s providing for my family in a little different way than me working and it’s very satisfying to eat a meal that you grew on your own — until I while later and you realize you did need some protein somewhere in there.
  • Every time I’m in the garden, without fail, I always think of Grandma.  I’m not going to compare our gardens, she’s probably rolling over in her grave at all of my weeds and uncaged tomatoes, but each summer I spent a lot of time with Grandma in her garden.  I will never forget the year that her boys planted her garden not because there was a shortage of care taking that they were doing but because it was always so important to her.  One of the my most touching memories of the end of her life and I venture to say she appreciated it more than she was ever able to express.
  • There is nothing that tastes better than that first tomato picked and eaten in the garden so no one else will know.
  • Seeing Kaede hiding in the cherry tomatoes or pea patch and then being “too full” for dinner warms my heart even though our harvests then are a little smaller than when I don’t bring her along.
  • Veggies all winter because I stuck it out through the less fun parts taste better than any store purchased version of the same thing.  I’ve never seen “labor of love” listed as an ingredient on a bag of frozen corn.
  • The best anti-depressant ever is planting in the spring and anxiously watching for the first sprouts, first blossoms, and being able to enjoy the sun on your back.
  • It’s my Pooh like thoughtful spot.  I’ve unloaded large amounts of problems in the rows between the corn, shared things I have no one else to tell things to and watered carrot sprouts with my tears.  My garden is never too busy for me.
  • Having your own pumpkins at Halloween is the best!  We’ll have enough I won’t be afraid to try some fun things carving them this year {when did pumpkins get so expensive?}
The second list far outweighs the first, even with the added stress it’s currently bringing that I really just don’t need right now, so I will continue to garden and hope for the best for my tomatoes to hang on just a little bit longer until I can give them the attention they deserve.

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