I took these pictures the last two weeks. Lots of pictures. Last week Bracken and I went to our neighbor’s farm and picked raspberries and apples. Jeff was working hard in the shop and we were happy knowing we could return home and surprise him with good food. (Great idea for picking raspberries: a wooden box with a strap that hangs around your neck to leave both hands free for picking.) We brought our neighbor eggs and he loves to do trades and also appreciates help picking berries and pressing apples. We came home with pears, raspberries, apples, plums, onions, and basil. Before we left, we helped him do some apple pressing so we came home with some apple juice as well. With our neighbor’s suggestion, Bracken held a cup under where the juice poured out and was in apple juice heaven. We have small amounts of raw vegetable juices at home, but fruit juice is not something he has experienced much in his life at all. He gets wired enough with too much fruit so the juice was a bit much for him, but we did have a lot of fun. I had plans to meet two neighbors to do some apple pressing on the day I went into labor with Bracken and of course didn’t end up making it. Last week was the first time I had done any apple pressing since before Bracken’s birth. Pressing apples will always make me think of that day.
This week we went harvesting again. We picked with a friend (who took that picture of Bracken and I in the raspberry patch) and brought home more raspberries. Then at her farm we picked blackberries and visited all the animals. Most of the blackberries at our place are done for the season. We’ve been eating them fresh, but I thought I missed my chance to save some for the winter. When I got a call from a friend, inviting us to go blackberry picking and saying they were still good, I was happy to have the chance to still get some in for the winter.
So far this year, we’ve dried: pears, plums, and apples. And in the freezer: blueberries, applesauce, apples, pesto, pears, raspberries, blackberries and peaches. Between our garden and some trades with neighbors lately, our kitchen is bursting. Our kitchen table is completely covered, along with most of our counter tops. Our pantry has some winter squash on the shelves and jars of dried fruit and herbs. Our refrigerator is packed. Our freezer is packed. We are feeling so grateful for the abundance of food right now. So, so grateful. Visits to the grocery store are few and far between, with not much on our lists when we do go. Our garden is small in size compared to many of our neighbors, but it can still be a lot to keep up with. I see some of our farming neighbors with tons and tons of produce rolling in and wonder how they do it (staying up late every night to get it all preserved, that’s how.) We’ve been mostly dehydrating, fermenting, and freezing things so far this year, but we have some canning projects in our future. We put off doing any canning projects until we have a lot to can all at once.
Jeff moved the dehydrator into the kitchen after a bear knocked it over in our yard one night, trying to get to the fruit inside. (Whoops, we spaced that one out.) The bear also ate almost all the apples off our apple tree. We might have gotten three this year. Luckily, our neighbors have kept us well supplied in apples so we haven’t had any shortage of apples around here. Preserving food for the winter is a good, good feeling.