Friday, October 19, 2012

election fatigue? take a spoonful of fall

this perfect (but inedible) pumpkin volunteered in my herb garden this year

Fall is well upon us, and not a word from me.  That just shows you the power of Mitt Romney to distract, because I love this time of year, and I haven’t been enjoying it nearly as much as I should. 

Even though the election has distracted me from the more introspective aspects of the season, I have still been incredibly busy with the preparation that October requires.  I have tomatoes, beans and fruit put up, herbs drying, and green stuff like broccoli, kale and collards moving weekly into my freezer. 

out of focus - i couldn't hold my camer still while standing on a chair!
the new word in window treatments!

boring apple picture
If I must have gray hovering around my doorstep in just a few weeks, at least I know I have color bottled up in jars, boxed up in cool storage, and vacuum packed in my freezer.  Meanwhile, we'll make the most of the arugula that's prime in the fridge, dappling it with walnuts and pear from the market.  We know the salad won’t last, but we don’t dwell on it.  There's something deeply satisfying in the box of pale fleshy sweet potatoes that stands a hero’s guard against winter in the corner of my kitchen.
An even surer sign of the season, we had soup for dinner last night! Black bean: the first official soup of these coming cooler months.  
As it happens, I have a confession to make about those beans. 
Remember when I posted Earth:Full, Pantry: Empty?  Well, feeling that the bar of soap I bought might make an inadequate store for civilization's coming seige, I eventually ordered some beans. 
Yes.  Yes, I did. 
You see, I already order wheat in bulk because I grind it to make my own flour.  So it wasn’t a stretch by any means to venture into the bean section of the website and click the number “one” under the description “black beans-6 gallon bucket.”  

Then I forgot about it.  Imagine my surprise when the order came in six weeks later.  I opened my bucket of “wheat,” only to discover a surprise guest:  a mountain of black beans, all shiny, new, and expectant. 
Six gallons.  I think that amounts to about 96 cups of beans (94, if you subtract what I used for the soup).

Steve doesn’t know. 

If you live in a small house, how do you hide 96 cups of black beans from your husband?  
You put them in the laundry room and stack other stuff on top of them.  Then you hope he doesn’t trip on the bucket when putting the bath towels in the dryer.  While he’s there, you might as well cross your fingers that he doesn’t look in the freezer, because you probably haven’t yet told him about the chickens…

Other women hide new stuff like Jimmy Choo pumps or Prada handbags.  Me? I don't really even know what those things are (I googled "fashionable shoes" to find cool names).  I have 6 gallons of dried beans lurking in my laundry room and approximately 20 covert chickens stuffed into a “new” freezer we inherited from my parents. 

It’s not that Steve doesn’t know that I store our food for winter.  It’s just that I don’t tell him about the bill when it happens (if he was a more faithful reader I could worry about outing myself but…that’s not a problem!).  It’s OK.  The cost will work itself out later, in the minimal grocery bill we’ll enjoy all winter.  For now, I plan to stay mum on the chickens and play oblivious to the beans.

Meanwhile, I need a break.  I think I have food storage fatigue.  I know I have election fatigue.  And I'm missing the fall. 

So tonight we went for a walk.
steve and my block-headed
but lovable dog named Maybe



The in between seasons teach us to pay attention, because whatever pleasures they offer, are fleeting.
a bee showing up for "last call"

Winter and summer can drag on.  Too much snow gives us cabin fever; too much sun gives us heat stroke.  The extremes wear us out, and by the end, we appeal for change. But not so with the in between.  I mean, when was the last time you heard someone say they were tired of fall?  Or sick of spring?  
a pink mum
summer marigolds still hanging on
In the moderate temperatures of fall, we can stop sweating and sit back to watch and listen as a timpani of clouds rolls in over the fiery hills, a trumpeting wind blusters leaves into fountains of sky, and color comes oozing out of the planet like music.  
decay is part of the beauty of fall
But be sure to tune in.  If you get distracted, you'll miss the show. 


  1. I'd really love to learn more about eating seasonally and prepping food for winter! Love these posts.

    Cracked up about the shoes and hiding comment. :)

    and it is so awesome to see these beautiful pics that bring the story alive! olivia, what a love! and also the "window treatments." and all the fall pics are really something. If you ever feel like not writing, you can just do photography! wow. your photographs are like poetry to the eyes.

    1. wow meredith. thanks! you really are so nice :) Beth and i were talking about you - wanting to do lunch or something? we could talk food storage! i will email you.

  2. Very very nice post. I love it all, and Maybe looks so happy! We, too, have begun to soup. I am jealous of how you hoard your local, organic food. We need another fridge, freezer so I can more responsibly hoard. The black beans sound great! "Steve" can't get mad at sound, financial food planning!

    1. thanks! and yes, Maybe LOVES to get out in the woods. when i made her stop for that pic she was like, "What?! I thought we were going! C'mon!!"

      we have two free freezers. the first we got from Craig's list. it's REALLY old so the guy couldn't see his way to charging for it. but old stuff often works better than the new stuff. the other my parents were getting rid of. but check out craig's list. they always have that stuff for cheap! then you too can have 20 covert chickens! :)

  3. Now I know about the black beans in the laundry room and the 20 chickens -- hey I'm only a few days behind your post.