Every year I've canned something. When I was pregnant with four littles running around, it might have been one batch of salsa. Or throwing some beets in a jar with a sweet vinegar brine. But as the kids have gotten older, and my garden has slowly expanded, I've canned more things, with the intention of actually feeding us year-round. And the last few years have been pretty successful. I think I had buy tomatoes last year, at the end of the season to make enough salsa, but mostly it's items from our garden, put away for the winter, like a good little ant.
And this year is looking pretty successful. Lots of relish made (probably too much), some new bread and butter pickles I'm trying out (ripple cut thanks to my mandolin- no big deal guys), and salsa. My garden is still pumping out tomatoes so I might try some simple canned, diced tomatoes, but we'll see. Still have my beets left to go, but those are good ones to do later.
But I was thinking the other day about why I even bother. I have a Costco membership. There's no way that if I count my time (including inevitable clean up!), the jars, the produce, etc. it makes any fiscal sense whatsoever. And then I remembered that most of my life doesn't make a lot of fiscal sense. I raise pigs each year for our freezer, I milk a scowly Jersey, I raise her calf for beef, I grow chickens for meat and eggs, but I'm pretty sure I could make a lot more money buying all that food for cheap somewhere and working off the farm for a pretty little paycheque. So why don't I?
I know where those tomatoes come from and who picked them and if those people are living a healthy, fair life. I know how that pig was raised and that it rooted in the sods and had Jersey milk for breakfast. I know what the cow ate and how satisfying it is to watch her cream turn to butter before my eyes in the KitchenAid. There is no dollar figure for those peace-of-mind parts and that's ok. If it feels good and I'm able to do it, I will. And I gotta say, it feels pretty darn good.
(I also couldn't figure out why I was running low on jars, when I haven't needed to buy any for years. Then I went to the freezer for a roast and saw my jars and jars of ghee and remembered where all my jars went. Ooops. Not a great year to run out, but a great reason to!)
Return to School
Well, by now the kids have completed two weeks of school and so far so good. I know parts of the world are really struggling with the virus, but we're so blissfully ignorant here, it feels ominous, but far away at the same time. The kids have done well to remember their masks (it helps that they need them on the bus), and don't really have much to say about any of it when they come home. Their stories are pretty normal and it sounds like the staff are doing an incredible job of making everything feel as business-as-usual as humanly possible.
PEI is doing a really amazing School Food Program and it's a local chef prepping ingredients from local farmers and it's pay what you can, up to $5. I treated myself and bought the kids' lunches today. It's supposed to be PEI Beef burgers (I think they were squeezing in some lentils as well, but don't tell the kids.) so we'll see how that goes over. My prediction is that 3 of 4 will be really happy. Guess who the 1 unhappy camper will be. (hint: starts with a T)
Lucy's Awful Good Pumpkins
Soon enough these'll be piled up at the farm gate, ready for sale!