Posing Pumpkins and The Garlic Diamond Stone
Life has been happening since I last posted and there were plenty of posts waiting to be written before then. Classes started again for me along with October rolling in. I’m taking a college level algebra class for math credits and a ballet class because I love it but the majority of my time is taken up with an invasive parrot genetics project. I will bore you will more details about that later.
I just have to say, I LOVE fall! It is my favorite time of year, most of the time. I love the crisp air, the changing colors, putting up for the winter, oh my goodness just thinking about it gives me hives! I could gush for hours. But… fall in the PNW is not exactly my ideal sort of fall.
|One especially heavy down-pour we’ve had already this season.|
I mean it starts raining and doesn’t let up until practically June. Yuck. Really, we are lucky if we see snow twice all winter.
I love seasons, I love that they change in a predictable rotation. I’m not so fond of autumn and winter blurring into one soggy, cold, annoying drizzle.
So you can understand how thrilled I was to get a chance to spend last weekend home while the valley is in all it’s glory. I forget how much longer the growing season is over there and couldn’t help but be jealous of the still live and productive plants. Of course, getting to eat and otherwise enjoy them as well as take some tomatoes home, helped ease my jealousy. I love that everything just keeps going until the frost kills them out. Here the plants all die a watery death by drowning or disease long before a freeze could kill them.
Now I’m going to interrupt this post for a rose detour! Look, look! Isn’t it gorgeous? It smelled even better than it looked.
Alright, now you we can go on with the rest of the post.
One of my goals for the trip was to come back with apples.
My grandparents have been paying to pick apples at an orchard for the last few years and had just went while we were there. We stopped by and picked about five boxes of Jonagolds in twenty minutes and payed $20. I’m not sure about the story behind it, but the profits from the orchard are used for philanthropy. The owner told us at the moment his wife is buying shoes for kids in Africa. So not only did we get a screaming deal, the money is going to a good cause and the apples are organic. Extra super duper bonus!
My mom kept a big basket worth and Katie bought a box and I threw in some grapes. I wish I had taken a photo of that box of apples. It looked down right magazine worthy with grapes all buxom draped across the gleaming apples.
My moms grapes had a bumper crop. At her count they have been picked five times. Meaning five different times people came and took everything they could handle. I think ours will be the last picking though, unless someone wants the rotten grapes I left. I picked two five gallon buckets heaping and a shoe box full. I have been making raisins and I made grape juice which ended up turning into a giant fiasco because the water line broke just as I was about to start canning.
My grandparents have been making raisins too. As you can see they have a pretty creative set up for drying things from the heat of their wood stove.
Mom and I had dinner with them and helped cut and bring in their squash harvest. Grandma’s original count was 60. When we starting cutting stems we discovered more behind her roses and over the bank by the fruit trees. If you have the urge, feel free to count squash in the picture and let me know how many there were.
Grandma always intentionally grows more than they can use. As I’ve mentioned before, food is a huge part of my family’s culture, sharing food is very much part of that.
As we worked to cut and move squash inside, my grandparents talked about who all would get their extra squash. Everyone cooks, cans, cures, plants, hunts and fishes with the rest of the family in mind. Having something to share is a source of pride. You could see that pride on my grandma’s face as the pile of squash grew.
Grandma wanted the pretty ones to show and kept rearranging them. Silly lady, doesn’t she know they are all gorgeous!
She sent me home with half a dozen of the beauties and my mom sent two of her spaghetti squash so we are set on squash for months.
We had mom’s spaghetti squash with shrimp cooked in a cream sauce over it for dinner that night. If you were wondering, it was excellent. I’ve mentioned before I use paper weights to smash garlic to make removing the skin easier. You can see grandma has her own version, this pretty stone. We joke it’s her “garlic diamond stone” since you can see a crystal when you hold it to the light.
We headed back over the mountains with a very full load. We really were crammed. So much so that AJ grumbled about gas mileage the whole way back. Yet another thing I forgot to take a picture of; boxes of apples, buckets of grapes, squash and canning jars crammed into all the nooks and crannies. We always leave with many backwards cast glances and sighs; even more so when we know we are leaving at the most beautiful time of year.