Monday, 30 March 2009

It's got cold

So, while the rest of the world heads into Spring, here we head into Autumn and last night it got cooooold. I have to admit having the opposite seasons still weirds me out -- a bit. It isn't so much that Christmas dinner was on the barbecue -- I did grow up in Florida, after all -- or that it will be cold in June. My body, however, seems to expect the seasons to go backwards rather than to be opposite. That's to say, instead of Spring-Summer-Autumn-Winter just being shoved along 6 months, I physically expect Winter-Autumn-Summer-Spring.

Does it matter, you might ask. Well, for some things I do, like woolwork and canning, yes. Some of you will know from hurried emails saying, "I'll have to get back to you, I'm up to my elbows in plums," that I discovered canning IN A BIG WAY this year. If it stood still for too long, it got canned. My enthusiasm for canning stems not only from having enough time for the first time years to do such things, but finally a sense of I'm here for the long run, or at least long enough to get through, oh, 54 jars of tomato sauce. PLUS the fact that I will do almost anything to avoid entering Publix, Winn Dixie, Sainsbury's, Tesco's or their vile Latin American equivalent Vea.

I hadn't fully cottoned on to this canning lark until I figured out that if I grew it, made it, dried it or canned it, I didn't have to confront miles and miles of neon-lit, wasteful superabundance to agonise over which one of a dozen brands to buy of peaches, or figs, or olives, or plum jam, say, at more than twice the price, with who-knows-what kind of added ingredients, in throwaway packaging. Obvious to some, a revolution to me. Though my grandmother in Germany did this every year, and there was a cellarful of produce whenever we went to visit. But that's another discussion about just how much historic knowledge we lose every time we gain new ways of doing things....

Returning to the seasons... having arrived just as Springtime arrived, and then physically expecting Winter, rather than Summer, I didn't get my head around harvesting and canning until very late in the season. And, at the same time, I didn't happen upon the llamas until relatively late in the summer (February) so I was doing a Autumn/Winter task of spinning at the end of Summer when I realised that if I didn't stop spinning, I wasn't going to get any canning done. Aaaaargh. Confused? I was!

So, with a lot of help from my friend Isabel, who is the Queen of all things Canned, I've now got a few shelves of jam and fruit and sauces and one rather inspired glass of figs and almonds in rum (from an Italian recipe I found online) which will, it seems, be just perfect for my birthday in late April, when it will be cool, rather than balmy (go figure!) and we'll be in Valle Grande.

I'll post again soon, but as I have two translations due and should pack up the rest of my things in anticipation of the move to Valle Grande, I'd better get going!

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