Wednesday, July 09, 2008

the next day

You know, it's funny. You make an enormous decision, and then nothing happens. You wake up the next day and the laundry still needs to be done, the dogs walked, the garden watered. However, my friends on the net (thank you, commenters!) and the folks on a special listserv, my family and friends all made a fuss over all this Winnipeg stuff, and we appreciate it. That fuss and the people who said, "We knew you'd choose the right thing!" have been such a support. Plus, you can't believe all the advice I'm getting when it comes to silk long underwear and serious winter coats. In brief? Down coats, with a winter rating of -35 to -50. Right. I'm on it.

The thing that remains is feeling relieved about the decision. Now I know I'm not moving by August--yes, this was part of the decision! The other job, in New York, started in August...-- I'm able to relax a bit. I'd been consciously holding off on things. Like ordering anything via mail order, trying not to buy anything, freeze or can anything, trying to get rid of things, and saving boxes. Now I have a little less than a year to make those choices and plans. Things got easier.

First things first. I canned 32 cups of blackberries. That's two gallons of blackberry brandy jam, blackberry peach jam, and plain old blackberry jam. The berries were free for the picking and while I picked too, the professor and our industrious scientist friend John picked a lot of berries. I also froze a couple of quarts of berries AND made a berry dessert...and the guys want to go out again to pick more. Sure. No problem. By the end of the winter, will we stil like blackberries?

We began to run out of jars, so we took a trip to Big Lots, a store that sells close outs and other odds and ends. I did this on the advice of my friend Deb, who mentioned the best fleece washing device ever was available there, masquerading as a cat litter box. Somehow, we always find lots of goodies when we go to this store. $110 later, we'd enjoyed their air conditioning, bought 2 dozen jam jars, several books, some groceries, the fleece washing set up and two sheep squeaky toys for the dogs.
I offered one squeaky sheep first to see if the dogs like it. They did...the sheep squeaky toy was left in a place of honor. On my pillow in bed. Obviously my dogs like fibery stuff, too, and think I deserve the best!

Then? Back to the canning. Apparently this was the week that local plums ripened, so I bought those, along with the first apples. This became about 15 jars of plum apple chutney. I have more plums--for canning plum sauce and a Friday night dessert of some kind. Last night, as I was cutting up plums, waiting for the bread to come out of the oven at almost midnight, I this a blog post?...although I did not have the heart to shoot photos at that time of night!

Why am I doing all this? Food prices are going up. I want to eat this amazing local fruit in winter. I love crusty bread but grain prices are going up, too. Since we'll be spending another winter here, I want to put up lots of good tasting stuff.

It might be a great time to learn to can if you haven't already, and if you know how? Rush to your garden or nearest farmer's market. Get going. The media acts like we can't control the rising food costs, but this is definitely one way to cut costs, right? And, face it, homemade just tastes so much better!

Oddly, all this canning, the chores, and bathing Harry the dog AGAIN (what did he roll in this time?) have calmed me down. I feel focused. I have a short term plan here in Kentucky, and a longer term plan. I'm that way...a planner.

Do you plan for winter like an ant or a grasshopper? Are you calmer when you know what lies ahead? And do you know what Harry keeps rolling in? How 'bout that silk long underwear? Let me know what you think in the comments. I may not be able to respond to every one of them, but I love hearing what you think, too!


Blogger Deb said...

I'm a natural born worrier. I think planner sounds better :) I start planning a year in advance for the following years gardens. We have three large gardens and can, freeze and store veggies, fruits and our own meats. This year I have planted more than ever. As prices rise contiously, you just cannot be prepared enough. I always put up more than we need, that way we can share it with people that need it.

You should be proud of what you are doing! Blackberries - yummmmmmm! Good for you Joanne! One person cannot make a huge difference but many people doing their part can. No matter how little you can, store, freeze, etc., it will not only benefit your family but will help our country. The more we can raise ourselves, the less we have to import and be dependant on foreign suppliers.

I have a pretty good idea what Harry is rolling in - I raise quite a variety of it and my dogs love to roll in it! :)

July 9, 2008 at 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Janet said...

Good Lord, woman, I'm in awe of your preserving. That's more blackberries than I've eaten, combined, in years.

Silk long underwear feels nice, but it doesn't stretch, which can be a problem, and it's only good for not-very-cold or for being active in very cold. For sitting at a computer or being only mildly active outdoors, go for heavier stuff. :)

July 9, 2008 at 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

I've never lived anywhere where I needed long underwear! Even when I wintered near Hamburg once I got away with jeans (and I think maybe tights underneath). I'd love to experience really truly cold for a while with lots of snow :-)

As such, planning for winter doesn't involve much in Melbourne - blow the dust off the central heating, bring in the more delicate pot-plants and you're right to go.

In London there's no point planning for anything. It's winter today, 14 and rain!

And I still gobble canned stuff every time I visit my folks - you're right, it tastes infinitely better and there's the extra satisfaction of having home-grown food.


July 10, 2008 at 2:32 AM  
Blogger Mrs J said...

Now is this another usianenglish & englishenglish difficulty or am I being just thick? Do you mean putting things in a can (metal thing) to preserve them or do you mean putting it in a jar? Blackberries are about 6 weeks away here. We are still on strawberries!You are so right about building up your pantry of goodies though.

July 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We moved and left behind orchards, big gardens and a nice chest freezer. So, I am starting over with the growing and putting up, but am planning on getting it all going again. It feels so good to have 'stock' in and you are so right about the taste. So much better, especially when it is from your own labor.
I moved to the Keweenaw Peninsula, which is at the upper point of the upper peninsula of Michigan and it is known for the snow falls. I invested in cuddle duds, which I became very attached to this past winter. I will have to try silk also.
btw, I cannot get my google password to go thru, so I am annonymous, again. jenny

July 10, 2008 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Mrs J said...

Its 'bottling' in ukenglish! Using 'kilner' jars & things. I also sometimes use a 'drier'for things like cherry tomatoes.I must have a go making onion marmalade because we have found we love it as a relish & its £4 ($8) a jar!

July 10, 2008 at 4:26 PM  
Anonymous CarolineF said...

I try to plan, but I accomplish the most by sheer force of habit, and running on a familiar track without having to put actual thought into things related to laundry, dishes, etc.
I feel TREMENDOUSLY better after a decision - that is a fundamental part of my personality. Until I have decided I'm nervous and uncomfortable, but once the decision is made, I am much better and don't make myself nuts with second-guessing.

July 11, 2008 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger annmarie said...

maybe the same thing Robbie keeps rolling in. whatever it is smells like a dead skunk, though.

July 11, 2008 at 2:53 PM  

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