The Garden

August 2007

My husband grew up in a house with not enough. For a growing boy, there was never enough food. He tells about fighting with his brothers for potato peelings in the sink. I think also there was not enough of a lot of other important things as well. This upbringing has affected how he reacts when he has the opportunity for free food.

Last year when our neighbor told us her raspberries were ripe, he drove over to pick some. He brought home several batches and I cooked them and froze them for making jelly later, which was what he wanted. This week I spent all day and half of a night preserving what ended up being 9 half gallon containers of raspberries. That made me 24 half pints of black raspberry jelly and 30 half pints of red raspberry jelly. This is probably three times what I put up last time I made jelly. The good news is that I have lots of freezer space now, although the jelly shelf is stuffed full, and my husband found another half gallon in the shop freezer. As Scarlet says, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Now raspberry season is upon us again and he has been tempted to pick more. Keep in mind that we have five half pints of jelly left over from 2005, when I last made it. I am hoping we can enjoy some fresh raspberries and forget preserving them this year. I hate to say this, but we really don’t eat jelly very often, although it makes a good gift. Fortunately a late frost kinda put a kink in the fruit production around here, and the crop was slim pickings indeed.

He is like that with our garden as well. I love fresh vegetables as much as the next person, but I don’t see eating tomatoes for every meal July 15th through October 10th. I also don’t see the need to preserve every single tomato and bean the garden produces. Enough is enough, I am not feeding 11 children like his mother was. Unfortunately he doesn’t see it that way. I have six cucumbers staring at me from across the room right now. I actually cut up three others for the chickens. We will probably get another six in the next two days. What does he expect me to do with them? There are only so many ways to eat cucumbers.

My kids don’t eat them on purpose, so I have to be sneaky. I found I can make tuna salad and add them for crunch. I probably need to look up a gazpacho recipe, but other than a salad here and there, what is a person to do? Ah, pickles. I make lousy homemade pickles. Apparently my mother-in-law makes wonderful refrigerator pickles. Great, now I have to live up to that. I imagine that is what my husband has in mind, although we eat pickles about as often as we eat jelly and refrigerator pickles probably don’t make great gifts, as they need to be refrigerated.

It has been a couple of weeks since anyone has ventured into the garden, so maybe the cukes bit the dust. I just hope the tomatoes are in good shape for canning, since I am about down to my last quart. My husband was kinda hoping I would grate some zucchini and freeze it for cakes and such. God planned well when he made the bugs that get into zucchini plants, they are great while they last, but they only last so long.

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