Labor Day weekend is all about taking it easy, but when the garden is spilling over with produce and the fruit trees drip with fruit, you have to pay attention.
This past weekend I got together with a group of friends and spent an entire day and night, in the sweltering heat, canning our summer produce. Canning is a rite of passage, a way of acknowledging that the summer is fading and colder days are to come. It’s hard to even imagine those cold days when you consider the recent heat wave, but the garden is winding down and it's time to get to work.
Like so many women in America, I saw Eat Pray Love last night, the new film based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s blockbuster memoir of the same name. There were a few guys in the theater, but this is a chick flick is ever there was a chick flick. Watching Julia Roberts traipse through Italy made me very very hungry.
We went away for eight days. That’s not a huge amount of time, but the garden literally transformed itself while we were gone. When we left for vacation it was lush and full of promise, but when we got back it felt like the holidays. There were presents everywhere.
The sun was so hot and the air so still this afternoon that the thought of going strawberry picking lost its appeal. But the phone message at the farm announced that the picking was “perfect.” I’d been waiting a full year for a decent strawberry, so we headed out. Once we pulled up to the side of the picking fields, we were greeted by a cool June breeze. Where did that breeze come from?
I couldn’t see any berries at first, but I could smell them. There really is no smell quite as wonderful as ripe fruit.
So last week I was invited to the White House …
Sorry, it’s just so much fun to write that sentence, I couldn’t resist. And, besides, it’s true.
My back is killing me, which can only mean that gardening season is in full swing. We spent this past weekend digging, weeding, mulching, and planting, and my lower back is not happy. But these days are magical. The sun is unusually strong for this time of year, but there’s still a cool breeze in the air. It’s perfect late spring weather.
I just returned from a four-day trip to Portland, Oregon, where I attended the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference. There were close to 1,000 food writers, cookbook authors, editors, chefs, bloggers, caterers, and cooking school teachers there from Australia, Norway, Russia, Panama, Chile, Japan, Sweden, the U.K, and all over the U.S. (Many were kept away due to the volcanic ash that interrupted air travel last week.)
The forsythia and daffodils have popped and the lawn is a dramatic blaze of emerald green and yellow. The sun is gathering strength and April is here.
The power came back on last night after four days of living in a cold, dark house. Waking up this morning reminded me of the moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s world goes from black and white to color. Hard to tell if it was the power or the presence of the sun after seven days of rain and gloom, but the combination is potent.
It’s the beginning of March and all the land is dark and cranky. We’re on our fourth day without power and it occurs to me that these blackouts have been happening with regular frequency year after year. Perhaps our legislators should gather and declare mid winter “National Black Out Week.” Just make it official and we can all plan to go on vacation that week. Escape. High winds, severe rains, some snow, and poof….civilization is wiped out.