Posted in Food, garden, Projects, retirement, rural life

Fall Finishes

In the valley flax fires are burning, the smoke

billowing up and dissipating into the cloudy day. Tractors are at work and in the distance one can hear the sound of combines in the field commencing the canola harvest.

I’ve got bags of leaves, from a city yard, to put on top of my hydrangeas, hollyhocks and the Alpine current. The vegetable garden lays empty; the only colour coming from the brilliant green of the asparagus and the deep crimson red of the hedge.

While the outside work winds up there is still much to do inside. A plethora of carrots, too many for the fridge, become carrot soup, pickles and muffins. The never ending tomatoes require attention every day. Yesterday’s smoked ones become part of a big pot of borscht; made as a helping hand for friends. They also land in a huge pot of chili; all headed for the freezer.

Which groans under the weight of saskatoons, peas, beans, raspberries, apple pie filling, beets, borscht,….. The list goes on. Soon to be joined by the meat from 2 pigs we’ve been watching grow.

The cold storage room is bursting at the seams as well. Although the potato harvest wasn’t stellar there are still 3 bags. A box of onions sits beside two cabbages that need attention and a bag of welcome parsnips, a hard to grow veggie out here.

The shelves are sturdy enough not to groan under the weight of pickles, jams, jellies, peaches, tomatoes of many descriptions and the ever present and most popular raspberry vinegar.

And (I know it’s wrong to start a sentence with and but somehow this one seems to need it) it all takes time. I never lament the assortment and variety but by the time the last item, usually a large pumpkin, is sorted and dealt with I’m done. Eating so well takes a lot of concentrated effort. It’s been fabulous this year that I’m not usually still plugging away in the kitchen at 9:30 at night like when I worked full time. I did peaches for the first time in a decade.

All this, plus a lot of lovely grandchildren bonding, seems to have eaten into special project time. I hope, and realistically it seems possible, that I will find more time in November. I will have finished harvest, gone back to one casual job and have only a few other major commitments on the go.

And that’s how this retired person keeps busy! Fully blessed with the gratitude a good harvest brings.

Bernie

4 thoughts on “Fall Finishes

  1. That sounds lovely. I grew up on a farm and gardened most of my life. I’m a teacher and planning to retire in either June or December next year. It’s not an early retirement either. I’m really hoping that when I’m no longer working all day I’ll have the energy to start gardening again. I live in Manitoba now but my children and grandchildren are all in Edmonton now and I’ve bought a house their for when I do retire. The grandchildren are 1, 3, 4, and 7 so I hope to have time to enjoy them before they get too big. I love the pictures you’re posting of your life on the prairie.

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    1. If you can retire in June so you have the summer!! Gardening and grandchildren take a lot of my summer time and in both ventures I am in my glory!
      Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. Always nice to connect with a new reader.
      Bernie

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  2. I always remember how busy my Mom was each fall on the farm. Always, pickling, reserving, baking, digging, storing, helping with the crop harvest and looking after us 3 kids. I always helped as a kid, but now that I am an adult, I wonder how much help I really was. Then I think back to my ancestors. Granny lived in a sod shack for the first couple of years in East Central Alberta. I wonder how we all made it this far. It was likely the same determination, gratitude and work ethic you show in this post. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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    1. I also remember my mom; I know we helped. There was a significant amount of chores growing up on a dairy farm but that’s where my work ethic comes from.
      I often think about both my grandmother’s and the challenge of homesteading on the prairie. The difference is they were 100% dependant on what they put aside and if we have a poor year in the garden then we either buy that item or switch out for something else. Not an option that they had.

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