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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Season of Good and Plenty

Ten dozen ears of corn that were living in their summer home in an Amish man's field at 7 a.m. this morning took up residence in their winter quarters in my freezer at 3:30 this afternoon. I have 71 packs of corn in the freezer and that should see us through the winter. That sounds like a lot but it really isn't. Since we're back to the original two we started with 45 years ago, my packs of corn have been reduced to one cup. Back in the days when we had six children (five of them male) eating at our table, I put six cups in a pack. The 71 packs I did today would only have made ten meals. Of course, I had a lot of hands to help husk then and today I worked completely alone. But I am not sorry I don't need six-cup packs anymore. I didn't mind it at the time but I am glad they are all able to take care of themselves now and do their own corn.
Leroy is picking up a bushel of peaches at the orchard on his way home from work tonight. They will be my next project. Most of them will become Fruit Slush. That is a mixture of peaches, pineapple tidbits, green and red seedless grapes, and bananas frozen in a syrup of pineapple and orange juice. Because Leroy is diabetic I omit the sugar some people add. The fruit juices sweeten it enough for our taste. We eat it as it is or I put it in the blender with a cup of yogurt to make smoothies.
Our garden used to cover about a third of an acre. It kept shrinking as the children married and moved away. With the condition of my back, we wouldn't have a garden at all anymore if Leroy didn't take an interest in it and see it gets done. It's nice to be able to go out to the garden and pick enough for a meal, but it is also possible to buy plenty of produce for canning and freezing. Anyone who cannot or does not want to garden can still find plenty of good quality produce for reasonable prices to preserve for the winter---at least in this part of the world.
Old Order Mennonites and Amish have switched from growing tobacco for a cash crop to raising produce. Their crops are sold at produce auctions in Lancaster, Lebanon, and Berks counties. The corn I got this morning was from an Amish man who takes his crop to the produce auction but he also takes private orders which can be picked up on his farm. It's a win-win situation. He is spared the bother of hauling it to the auction and I save time by not having to wait for it to be sold on the auction.
I raised a large garden, froze and canned huge quantities of food out of necessity when our family was at home. I cannot imagine the size of the grocery bill in those days if we had bought everything from the store. It cost enough for the things we could not raise when we used a gallon of milk and large loaf of bread every day. My grocery bills have shrunk to a reasonable size now but I still prefer home canned food to commercially produced products. It's a matter of taste. 
We have fresh corn, tomatoes, cabbage, and peaches  as the month begins. Apples will be coming shortly.  August is my favorite eating season, the season of good and plenty.

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