Scenes From a Summer Harvest

You know how traditionally women did certain household chores on certain days? Like washing on Mondays, ironing on Tuesdays? If you think I'm making this up, you didn't read enough Little House in the Big Woods as a kid.

Well, I kind of have that this summer. Harvest on Mondays and Thursdays, deal with said harvest on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

So after yesterday's picking over of the garden and orchard, here's what I had:

Another twenty or thirty pounds of peaches, plus all our red and yellow onions on the counter behind them.

Here's a better view. The bags are full of drying herbs and last year's mustard seeds, which I still haven't completely threshed out yet because it's a giant pain. The onions are easy — they just need to sit out in the warm air to cure before we store them in the basement. 

A refill on the fruit bowl, now with nectarines in addition to peaches. (Oh, and one windfallen-but-perfectly-ripe Gala apple to the right.)

Also harvested and brought into the kitchen (more or less clockwise from the top): tomatillos, slicing cucumbers, a head of red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, an assortment of heirloom tomatoes, pickling cucumbers (medium and small), zucchini, and green beans.

Two other things in this picture nicely encapsulate this summer at our house. First, you will notice that the rest of the kitchen island is cluttered with tools. If you look to the background, you see a bucket of joint compound, the shop vac, a ladder, and an unfinished, studs-only wall. We're remodeling our downstairs half bath and laundry areas, and they both abut the kitchen, so it's one giant construction zone for processing and cooking our food. 

Second, in the foreground of the photo is the kids' cookbook that they have been using to make dinner once a week this summer. So far we've been treated to meals from France, Scandinavia, China, and (last night) Italy. They are pretty much on their own, although they occasionally have a question or a shouting match that needs addressing. We're hoping that when summer is over they'll still be interested in cooking on Saturdays for us!

And now, for the Tuesday chore list. Here's what I did today to keep all that food from going to waste (and some other stuff):

1. Amended the newly-empty onion bed with compost and sowed fall plantings of broccoli rabe, bok choy, arugula, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, beets, and turnips.

2. Froze the strawberries.

3. Blanched and froze the green beans.

4. Oversaw the summer cleaning of the kids' rooms (a week-long project, so there's less crying than there would be if we tried to do it all in one day).

5. Finished the first round of mudding the walls of the new bathroom with joint compound.

6. Weeded the cutting garden and patio quadrant.

7. Started a new batch of sweet gherkins with the small pickling cukes.

8. Packed up the medium pickling cukes to give away to some else to pickle (you can only do so much pickling, right?).

9. Made a bucket of red salsa.

10. Made two quarts of green salsa — one to eat and one to freeze. (Salsa ingredients here.)

11. Made zucchini bread.

12. Picked corn to save it from impending squirrel damage.

13. Made dinner (tacos, using all that salsa and half the red cabbage, plus an ear of corn for everyone).

14. Blanched and froze corn (more on this tomorrow).

15. Made another peach pie (also more to come on this, I swear).

16. Wrote this list. Next time I'm feeling a little lazy, this list will prove that I have earned whatever amount of lolling about in the hammock I choose.


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