Thursday, September 12, 2013

Harvesting and putting food by

Eva helped me make pesto with all the basil in our garden. Notice I didn't write, 'Eva “helped” me make pesto”. She HELPED me! In fact, if it wasn't for her, there wouldn't be many bags of freshly frozen pesto in the freezer right now. It's quite the undertaking, this pesto making business. I don't know how people made due with mortar and pestle before Cuisinarts existed... Even mechanized, it's a lot of work. First, there is the harvesting and snipping of fragrant basil stems. Then, you have to pick the leaves off the stems in order to wash them (just in case the dog peed on them, hypothetically speaking). Then the leaves have to be spun in the salad spinner to dry. Afterwards, they get dunked in olive oil in the Cuisinart and then blended into puree. You can't believe how much volume the basil looses once it gets smushed. You keep repeating these steps until you have enough paste to put into a quart freezer bag, which then gets flattened and put in the freezer.

I really, really love the smell of basil. But after two hours of standing in the kitchen and plucking, washing and pureeing basil leaves, it gets old. Eva was my cheerleader, demanding over and over again that we do more. She rather liked picking off leaves and spinning them in the salad spinner. I am so glad for her help and the female bonding that ensued over the kitchen sink. We now have many nights worth of dinner in the freezer, thanks to this little girl. When I'm ready to make a frozen green patty into a meal, I will take it out of the freezer, put it into a pan of hot water (still in the bag til it's soft enough), then put it into the Cuisinart with fresh garlic, more olive oil, and a handful of walnuts (I am too cheap to spring for pine nuts). Voila! Heaven!

I love fall and harvest time. All the work of planting seeds, fussing over seedlings in the greenhouse, transplanting them in the garden, and watering and weeding them for months finally pays off. The garden cranks out a lot of food. I made my famous bread and butter pickles, after the boys harvested cucumbers. While they were out there, I made them help with garden clean up, weeding, cover cropping and all that. They didn't complain too much, and I was glad for the help.
There is also (surprise, surprise) lots of zucchini to be had, which I make into zucchini bread and stir frys. Kai and Eva helped me harvest a couple, and I thought the apple tree looked so inviting, I promptly took their picture under it.

Fall also brings Humpies. I wrote about them in last week's blog entry. They are such fascinating, magical creatures, these salmon. By the time they reach our creek, they are beaten up, eager to spawn, and ready to die soon after. We are careful not to disturb the ancient rituals of these fish, but the kids love to watch them, and sometimes they try to touch them. I make sure the kids don't get overly zealous, but every now and then, I let them try to catch one with their bare hands. They have never succeeded, since the salmon are too fast and skiddish, but just the other day, Lukas grabbed one for a split second, and I even got it on camera!

The above is a salmon egg that one of the kids picked up, and I immediately had them put it back in the water where they found it.  Pretty, though, ey?
I leave you with an image of the sky last week.  We've lived through some intense thunderstorms lately, one of which fried our phones.  
May you feel as abundant as we are right now.

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