Labor Day has come and gone, and really, it feels like summer has too. Our hot humid days have given way to crisp, cool nights in the 40s and I couldn't be happier about it. I know that apple picking is right around the corner with days of chopping, peeling, coring, baking and crock pots full of cinnamony apple butter making the whole house smell like heaven. I can't wait to throw my clay baker filled with seared beef cubes and cabernet sauvignon in the oven to slow roast all day, or lovingly rub a big juicy turkey all over with butter and herbs and send him into the oven for a nice "spa day". I love everything about fall food and cooking.
The garden is coming to a close as well. The Chef still makes his daily rounds with a bowl but the pickings have decreased dramatically. The hot pepper plants are still producing but the tomatoes are just about done and personally, I'd like to yank em up, till their area and prep for next year, but The Chef would die a thousand deaths if I did. I planted about 150 new peas and am hopeful for a nice fall crop. This is probably the ONLY time anyone will ever hear me say "gee, I hope we have a late first snow" because if I love anything, it's SNOW and winter weather !!! My dehydrator is filled with another 8 trays of herbs tonight, scenting the house with dill and oregano. The chive plants have completely regrown but to be honest, I'm pretty chived out. We already have more than we can possibly use over the winter.
I look back over my Summer Of Non Working and realize just how much WORK was involved !!! 20 quarts plus several pints of canned tomatoes, 2 quarts and 15 pints of pickles, 22 pints of salsa, several pints of pickled peppers, a couple dozen jars of jams and jellies, dried chives, basil, parsley, thyme, about 5 kinds of hot peppers, dried tomatoes, zucchini and green beans for soup. Corn, rhubarb and beans in the freezer. I'm exhausted from just thinking about it all !! But I smile to myself when I think about how over the cold winter months we will be able to crack open a jar of those pickles and remember how we roasted alive picking cucumbers at the Amish farm in 100 plus degree heat index. That bowl of chili will be even more rewarding knowing that we grew the tomatoes and peppers ourselves (many from seed in those horrible red keg cups that overtook the dining room for a couple months) and canned them ourselves without any added chemicals.
It's not been an easy summer without having a job. Money is tight and we didn't have nearly the lake social life we thought we would but if I could go back and do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm amazingly happy in my little lake house with my Chef and our "kids" and peaceful solitude we have here. It's a very rare thing that I feel a little homesickness for the city. It happens, but it's gone in a flash when I think about the many blessings I have. I have much to be thankful for !!