Here on the farm, business has been very steady as this season comes to a close. The garden is the business to which I refer. It has been a challenge, too, since there has been a shortage of canning lids. Many stores tell me that they have not been able to get lids all year.
Regardless, I kept busy. My supply of well-loved dill pickles was replenished. Tomatoes have been plentiful. I canned salsa, tomato soup, tomato sauce and pizza sauce. Still there are more fresh tomatoes to preserve.
Our apples were surprisingly free of bug damage this year. The round, crispy sweet fruits were made into applesauce — sweetened and sugar-free. I froze some apple slices and canned some ready-to-bake apple pie filling. These delights are set aside for the future.
The pear trees hung heavy with fruit. There was too much fruit to can it all as pear sauce. Although some sauce was made, most of the pears were pressed into juice. I canned the juice. It made a rich, sweet, delightful drink… a real treat.
The beans are still blossoming but are not producing much anymore. A second lettuce crop is looking nice but will not last much longer with the cold snaps that are coming. Some super sweet golden raspberries are still producing their fruits. We used these berries in the recipe below. Yum!
Carrots and potatoes need to be dug up and stored in the cellar. Flower bulbs must be unearthed and put indoors to survive the winter. Just when we think we are getting almost finished with the garden and ready for a break, it is time to butcher the chickens!
I am glad that the season is coming to an end. The way my cellar is filling up with preserved foods is a pleasure. But you might guess fatigue is setting in.
My husband is working on get-ready-for-winter jobs, too. He replaced a couple of windows that have served in our house for 50 years. He cleaned the chimney so it will be ready to use when the cold times come. He has been cutting firewood for next year’s fuel. Already this year’s firewood is cut and piled. Soon we will move it to our wood room.
Before the tractor can carry the wood overland and dump the fire wood into our basement wood room, the garden has to be cleaned of all its produce. Any waste from the growing season, for instance, cabbage plants, carrot tops, etc., are gleaned and given to the chickens for a delightful lunch.
My husband keeps the farmhouse cozy with the warmth of a wood fire in the furnace. This time of year brings to mind some pleasant memories you may recall such as smell of the wood matches as the sulfur ignites and sets the kindling ablaze or the fragrance of the old furnace fire as it starts up in the wee hours of the morning.
“A Fire Lit by Father’s Faithful Hand”
Wenda Grabau © 2009
In the blackness of winter’s early morning hours,
The farmhouse kept us all warm.
Heat, forced through ducts to most ev’ry room,
Sheltered us from frost, wind chill and harm.
Grandma’s handmade quilts tucked ‘round the kids
Covered us from noses to toes.
But down in the cellar, from the wood-furnace fire,
Heav’nly scents of wood burning ‘rose.
Father felled the trees; cut and split the logs.
He piled and stacked all the wood.
With autumn’s cold chill, he moved the stack into
The wood-room, where his fuel supply stood.
The warmth, sights, and sounds of the old furnace-fire
Mark my life like a hot firebrand.
His work, his commitment still show me his love—
A fire lit by Father’s faithful hand.
Very Berry Apple Crisp
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 cups berries (blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, or raspberries)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
Preheat oven to 375°. In a mixing bowl, combine apples, berries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; toss until well incorporated. Spoon mixture into ungreased 9-inch square baking dish.
Topping: In small bowl combine oats, brown sugar and flour.
Add butter; stir until moist and crumbly. Sprinkle topping over apple mixture.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Recipe by ratherbeswimmin at www.food.com