Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I should be more worried

Okay. Paul can't get a job, so he can't get Katie a car. Or pay rent.

Katie has two jobs, which pay together slightly more than enough to fill the utterly inefficient gas tank of Paul's truck.

On the plus side, it's early autumn. Sarah is in the midst of Putting-By the Harvest.
Here is a vignette from last week:
I was talking to myself when Sarah called and said she was leaving work early and would appreciate company while she made peach butter. I went to Canterbury. Sarah's entire apt REEKED of basil, which was kind of nice. There was raspberry vinegar soaking in a bowl on the table, a bowl of measured pickling spices, several jars of cranberry mustard, a bowl of sliced green tomatoes to become chutney and a counterfull of canning jars (no eye of newt. She likes newts). Oh , and a sinkful of blanched peaches waiting to be peeled.

It was great fun to watch. I finished a sock and made the instep of another sock and spun for a couple of hours. She put a slew of little jars of pesto into the freezer, peeled the peaches, sliced the peaches, figured out the she needed to have weighed the peaches since her recipe was by weight rather than volume (she had 2 and a half recipes of Amaretto Peach Butter), put the peels into a huge pile of to-be-composted (including the bodies of several huge basil plants. She got them from someone who grew it to look nice in big pots but who hated pesto). Measured sugar and water and started the peach butter, got the bread dough out to rise, whipped up some simple pea soup, and asked sadly if I knew how to get the labels off jars. Beer people use bleach and water and she found soaking them in that for awhile and then using steel wool produced a desirable result. I warned her her nails and cuticles would be toast. But she was delighted because she been buying pesto in cute little jars for a year and they were canning weight jars and she had despaired that she would ever get the labels off. She had about 20, which meant she had enough jars to put up the green tomato chutney and the peach butter without begging jars from her mom.

Then we went across the road and scrumped apples. "Scrumped' is the British term for doing to fruits and veg. what you would be doing when you 'poach' a rabbit, and she loves the word. She estimates she and her friends have scrumped about 200 pounds of fruit from one row of peach trees.

We went to one apple tree and she and I had 3 shopping bags full of large cooking apples in about ten minutes. These were only the low-hanging fruit, from a tree that is not pruned or fertilized or sprayed or anything. They are lumpy , some of them, but not all that bad-looking. Another person from the village was there and got about another bag of the same apples because he and his wife have been coming to the same tree for ten yeas and it makes the world's best pies. He believed it was called Wolf River. We met two very old lesbians who were scrumping herbs. The moon rose, huge and very picturesque. Another person with some authority in the village showed up and suggested we would need to weigh the cars to assess how much we owed for the apples, but he was only joking and had been telling people to pick the damn peaches already for weeks. Sarah had been feeling guilty so she felt better, and I explained to everyone that she had bootlegger's springs in her car. Since they were all Very Old, everyone but Sarah agreed this was a great idea for smuggling fruit. Sarah had not heard about bootlegging springs.No appreciation for our nation's heritage.

We went back to her apt and she put most of a jar of aging applesauce on her fruit leather sheet on the dehydrator, and I finished the jar. Then I got to scrape the bottom of the peach butter pot when she transferred it to a smaller pot with a thicker bottom, and told her my secrets for removing burned-on from pans (soak for 12 hours, then scour with lots of table salt and a scrunched up piece of tinfoil. Knowing this means I am very popular at field school, where the pots are cheap and the cooks are doubtful).

She baked the bread and eventually we had pea soup with homebaked bread and home-shaken chive butter and I ate too much and staggered home.

The next day Miranda (I have a new boarder from the same organization as gave me Rob and Bryn last December) and I made a vast amount of pizza, while she made the first from-scratch pie of her life (a thing of perfect beauty) and I put more than 5 pounds of strange-looking apples through the food processor to make apple wine. Today I am hoping to make an apple tart for the official opening of the 2009-10 Archaeology Lab Season, and also to dehydrate some apple slices. I have a gallon bag of dehydrated peach and gave my parents a bag of frozen peaches (I still have one and half bags in the freezer and two gallons of peach wine).

I shall write more about the socks mentioned in passing but I need to go make an apple tart.


Angie said...

Sounds like a perfect day to me.

It's very chemical-y, but what about WD-40 for the jar labels?

Laurie said...

Another thought for the burned-ons: Heat the pan gently over the heat on the cooktop. Deglaze with water when the pan gets hot and rub off the burned parts. Usually makes quick work of even the grittiest pan.