Why is it that summer flies by in what seems to be a matter of moments, but winter drags on indefinitely? I’m just not ready to give up bright, sunshiny days. Summer took forever to get here, and is now giving way to fall. I can tell, because each day, something inside me has an overwhelming urge to “put up” food.
If I was a squirrel, I’d be out gathering up nuts. But since my nuts have fled the nest, leaving only my husband and dog to feed on a regular basis, there really isn’t a need to have 64 packages of frozen corn, dozens of quarts of spicy tomatoes and a gazillion pounds of other canned and frozen foods in my pantry in order to survive the winter ahead.
I just can’t seem to help myself. As the days grow shorter, I cut up peppers, stew tomatoes, eye ingredients that can be used for stew, casserole and soup, and tuck extra chili makings into my cupboard. I’ve already processed 75 pounds of tomatoes into sauce or salsa, and will probably do it again this weekend.
I’m slightly possessive of my beautiful, ready-to-store-indefinitely canned goods, and got mildly hypertensive when my husband Eric ruthlessly popped open a jar of salsa the day after I made it. Eeeek! That’s for winter! The long road ahead! The time of starvation and no fresh veggies! Which is totally irrational, because I can go to the grocery store for fresh veggies on any day of the week all winter long. They’re right there on the shelf.
But my internal body clock is demanding I gather my harvest, stockpile my foodstuffs and get ready to hunker down for a winter of storytelling by the fire while we wait for the sun to heat up the planet again. (In real life, we don’t even have a fireplace and we do most of our storytelling in the fish house. But that doesn’t go with the image in my head at the moment. Bear with me.)
The hot summer days I spent out in my garden tending my seedlings have become warm almost-fall days of picking and peeling and processing. And I object. I’m not done with summer yet and I want it back. We were going to go camping, clean out the back shed, spend evenings at the fire pit or playing horseshoes… We haven’t gotten those things done yet.
In the last couple of days I can feel the colder weather trying to sneak in, and it makes me slightly panicky on two levels. One, I hate being cold and I know I’m in for a winter of it, and two, I don’t know when I’m going to find the time to finish my harvest. My apples trees aren’t quite as prolific this year, but there’s still a bunch of them and no one to eat the darn things. I’ve been handing out cucumbers to everyone I meet. (Seriously, I’m all “Hi, nice to meet you. Do you want some cucumbers?) And there are still all the tommies and peppers to make into stuff.
Time is fleeting. And it flies when we’re having sun.