Yes, I can definitely feel autumn in the air now. Despite the sunny skies, it's still cool enough for me to be reaching for a long-sleeved shirt and a bunny-hug to keep me warm as I flit outside to water our few remaining plants. And the day has been long with preserving, and will go on for a while yet tonight.
First up were nectarines. At the beginning of the week, I hummed and hawed over what we would do with those. Salsa? Fruit leather? Can? Freeze? This worked itself out on it's own, as I admitted that we would be eating salsa verde for quite a while with all the tomatillos that grew this year. And the freezer is overflowing as it is. So, fruit leather and canning it was.
Next up were the peppers and tomatoes that have been waiting patiently to turn into a lovely, smooth sweet pepper ketchup. Oh, our house smelled divine as the smokey peppers mixed with the tomatoes and apple cider vinegar, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Despite our children preferring the store-bought stuff, even Jaelyn admitted that it tasted pretty darn good.
And the last adventure of the day - canning plums. This was a given, because our children loved the few cans of plums I put up last year. We emptied a 20 pound case in no time, and I'm considering getting more next week to make some jam.
What did the rest of the family do while I stewed and stirred and filled jars? A little of this, a little of that. They scoped out the local used clothing sales, after we went through their winter clothes with them. We weeded out the pants that were just a wee bit too short, the socks with holes, and checked to see if those winter boots that we thought would fit actually did. Nicholas scraped the seeds out of our two huge sunflowers. Later on, we dumped some ingredients into the breadmaker for our favorite home-made bread. Jaelyn and Astrin helped their papa take brussel sprouts off their stem. Astrin tried on every shoe and boot in the house (which are now plentiful), then helped her father in the garden while Jaelyn helped clean the dishes I dirtied. I'm thankful for all the busy activity, and I'm reminded that we too must look a bit like the neighbourhood squirrels busily scurrying around to hide the last of their winter stash.
As the day draws to an end, I put up my feet to rest and rub that kink in my shoulder. I wonder how families put up everything they would need for the winter in the old days, and I marvel at their incredible self-reliance. I look around the kitchen to see what will be next - likely those tomatillos (Chris brought home even more from the community garden tonight!), and some pears once they ripen a little more. Yes, although I am bone-weary, I'm happy that our shelves will be stocked with some home-made goodness for the colder days to come. And I'm thankful for our free time day tomorrow!