Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Harvest Preparations, part 1

Maybe I went a little crazy this weekend.

After walking through the tomato patch and counting 66 blossoms a few weeks ago I decided that my little stash of a dozen pints and a dozen quarts was just not going to do it this year. Last year we ate the applesauce I filled those with in less than a month.

My little old Foley strainer may not make it either.

After a jaunt to Walmart, bastion of low prices and other evils of capitalism, I had to rethink my whole plan. A dozen quart jars were $8.50 on sale. A dozen jars at the local IGA are $10.50 (sales? we don't need no stinkin' sales).

Popular opinion was that I should check Freecycle and garage sales. Dean brought home 3 dozen more this month. It still didn't feel like enough.

Last week I finally contacted a woman from CraigsList who was selling 30 dozen jars. On Friday night we drove off into a dark, country night and I bought 13 dozen jars for about $3 a dozen. As I followed her into her field rock basement with walls a foot thick, I realized that I had come to the right place. A place where people inherit jars because Great Aunt Myrtle died, not because they drove over to the Fleet Farm.

At home we immediately unpacked my plunder from the blankets, sheets, bags, and boxes. While my husband picked out cool designs like the red star, the gramma in the rocker, the Atlas strong-shoulders, and the bicentennial liberty bell I made a quick batch of baked donuts and sent the older kids to bed with a sugary O each.

Then I got down to my usual Type A list-making figuring out how many Kerrs I had, how many Balls, how many wide-mouth, how many regular, how many quarts, how many pints, how many special designs. Once I had all that done and felt satisfied to have quantified everything I promptly lost the list. I blame my Type B side. Or maybe the children.

Some days it's hard to tell who to blame.


Balisha said...

It looks like you are ready to go. When I was raising my kids...I used to do lots of canning and freezing. I didn't work outside the home and felt this was my contribution. It was such a cozy feeling when the first snow fell and we had lots of good things to eat.

Barbee' said...

Bless your heart... lost the list! I would have made the same kind of list. How else would you know what, and how many of each, you have to work with.

Oh, I do wish we lived nearer one another. I have jars I cannot bear to throw away, because I can see my mother's tomatoes in them (think 1940's), and I have her Foley mill that no one is using and none of my girls will be interested I'm pretty sure.

That tomato at the top of the page has me worried. I fear that is showing blossom end rot (as in opposite the stem end). It can be caused by fluctuations in moisture, not enough calcium, probably other things, too, and all of the above. Here is a link to a page of photos showing how it looks. If my link doesn't work, just Google blossom end rot and read some of the hits you get.

Tam said...

I don't think it's BER (at least there's none on any other developing tomato and there's a definite hole on one end like something bored in).

It's possible though. I did put eggshells at the root of every plant and it's been a wet summer for Wisconsin. Hmm.

lisa said...

You are very organized! Congrats on the good jar score...I just love bargains like that!