Turn, Turn, Turn

9

October 2, 2019 by Jean

I have been away from this blog for too long. I seem to have experienced time flying past more strongly than usual this summer, with repetitions of “How can it be August already?,” “How can it be September already?” and now “How can it be October already?” But there is no denying that the earth is continuing its annual revolution around the sun, that the northern hemisphere is now tipped away from the sun, and that summer has turned into autumn.

wood pile 2019

The signs of seasonal change are all around me. The summer hiatus of my choral singing group ended several weeks ago, and fall classes at the Senior College began last week. The truckload of winter firewood that was dumped in my driveway in early September needs to be stacked. The little cherry tree outside my study window has already dropped all its leaves, and brightly colored maple leaves are starting to flutter down into the driveway. The fall asters are blooming in my garden, and most other plants have finished their bloom period and are going into dormancy. We haven’t had a frost yet, but it is probably just a matter of days until that happens.

In my garden, the last of this year’s bumper crop of monarch butterflies has emerged from its chrysalis and flown away, presumably headed for their winter hibernation grounds in Mexico.

Chrysalis to Butterfly

On local farms, the focus of activity has shifted from planting and growing to harvesting. This means that it is time for me to preserve fresh food for winter eating. This is an aspect of the seasonal change that I love; I get great satisfaction from watching those harvest stores pile up in my freezer and on my pantry shelves. In August, I processed and froze 14 quarts (20 lbs.) of wild Maine blueberries. I also made pesto, froze it in ice cube trays, and now have two quart bags of pesto cubes in the freezer. Three additional quart bags hold sliced and frozen bell peppers (two bags of green peppers and one bag of red). A few weeks ago, I canned seven quart jars of whole tomatoes. I picked up another twenty-pound box of canning tomatoes yesterday and will can them today in a mixture of quart and pint jars. Soon, I will begin buying winter squashes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. These will be roasted, pureed and stored in the freezer for winter soups and desserts. I just ordered my annual fresh local turkey; I will roast this for Christmas dinner and eat the leftovers all year long.

Making room for all this harvest bounty means finishing up last year’s preserved food. I still have two packets of turkey meat from last year’s turkey in the freezer. I will use one of these to make a turkey entrée during October and save the last one to make a turkey parmesan soufflé for Thanksgiving. Valuable freezer real estate is also being taken up by one last quart of last year’s turkey stock and two pints of pureed pumpkin; these can be used to make soup, which replaces warm-weather salads on my lunch menu during the cold-weather months.

I am sorry to see the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of the Maine summer go, and I am not yet psychologically ready to face the rigors of the Maine winter. But fall is a beautiful season in its own right. It’s time to embrace the turn of the season and the joys this new season brings.

9 thoughts on “Turn, Turn, Turn

  1. Heidi Lynn Taylor says:

    Beautiful post Jean, thank you.

  2. Sue McPhee says:

    Fall is truly is a joyous time, particularly in Northern New England. We relish it with a passion at our house and the inhalation of all that cooler air feels so good now that the sweltering days of summer are becoming a memory.
    Your post has made me hungry. If I were more ambitious I would frequent the local markets and do some freezing and preserving myself… however.. I am not that ambitious.. 😦
    I will, instead, revel in the beauty this season has to offer.
    Thanks for a great post.

    • Jean says:

      Well, you know that I love to eat 😉 , so I’m willing to make some effort to get good food; and I try to support the local farm economy by eating locally as much as possible. My mother did quite a bit of canning when we were young, and those shelves filled with jars of tomatoes, beans, relish, pickles, and jelly always gave me a feeling of deep security. As an adult, I find that canning provides me with pleasurable feelings of self-sufficiency and cozy comfort.

  3. Jean R. says:

    Glad to see you back. With your wonderful garden to keep you busy I was not surprised we didn’t see much of you in the blog world this summer. Love your butterflies, but that wood pile makes me tired just looking at it.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, I tackle the woodpile tortoise-style: slow and steady wins the race. If I work on it an hour at a time, three days a week, I can get it all done in about six weeks — without straining my back and at a time of year when it is very pleasant to be outdoors.

  4. Diana Studer says:

    I envy you the turning seasons – especially the autumn leaves. We still have some chilly weather forecast for the first half of October. Perhaps a little more rain?

    • Jean says:

      Diana, There’s nothing subtle about our seasonal changes. Just as you get tired of one kind of weather, it gets replaced with something completely different. This year, it felt as though someone flipped a seasonal switch in early September as our weather suddenly became much cooler than normal for this time of year. I try not to start using heat until mid-October, but I may have to give in earlier this year.

  5. Dr Sock says:

    Jean, I agree – the seasons seem to have sped by very quickly of late. One of the things I ran out of time to do this year was to harvest or buy and preserve local produce. I did, however, buy a local free range turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving, and I have stock and frozen meat put aside for future soups.

    Jude

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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