It must be fall….

The woodpile is heaped tall and wide and deep, and covered with a brand new tarp. The stove pipe has been freshly cleaned. We had our first fire in the woodstove last night, much to the delight of our children who sat warming their feet on the hearth.

In the garage are boxes and boxes of onions, wrapped neatly in newspaper, enough to last past Christmas, I hope. The apples also there will be gone by November, I’m sure. My laundry basket full of apples lasted just 12 days. But for now there is still enough fruit that whenever a child asks for an apple, I happily say yes.

The pantry is full of jars, a hundred and ten of tomatoes alone, nearly three hundred all together…pickles and tomatoes and applesauce and salsa and apricot jam and grape jelly. I am weary of canning, and yet I cannot bear to waste the food still coming in basketloads from the garden. And so every few days I muster my stamina and fill a couple dozen more jars. Today I added two dozen of tomatoes and a dozen jars of jelly to our stores.

Soon we will pull the green tomatoes out of the garden, just ahead of the frost. We’ll wrap them in paper and store them in boxes in the garage. They will ripen over the next few weeks– no need for sun. We’ll use those each time we need tomatoes till they’re gone, and with luck I won’t touch my jarred tomatoes till nearly Christmas.

The frost is days away. As grateful as I am for this abundance of food, I will be glad when the frost comes and the growing season is over. it’s time to pull the coats out of storage. Time to put more blankets on the bed. Time to put on a pot of soup and bake a loaf of bread.

It must be fall.

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  1. Sounds lovely. Spring is coming here, but it was freezing today. But I can smell it in the air. The blossoms are out and the tulips are poking out of the ground.

    But Autumn (Fall) is my favourite time. Autumn technically starts in March but March is still really hot here. Autumn really starts Easter morning.

    My favourite time of year. Only 6months to wait!

    BTW, care to share your salsa recipe? I have always wanted to make salsa but it is not as popular here in Australia (I don’t know why! Mexican food is a staple in my house) and I would love to try and tried-and-true recipe!

  2. Jealousy! I want to come live with you! And, really? You can do that with green tomatoes? Wow, now I’m excited. My plants are covered in them and I thought the ones I didn’t fry in the next few days were gonna get wasted! Yay!

  3. I have been a lurker on your blog for a long time and I just wanted to say that I love it! I can’t imagine having that many jars of food saved. Kudos to you:)

  4. I would love it if you shared some pictures of your pantry full of all those jars of preserved foods! I always love to see pictures of a full pantry!
    Won’t you also tell us more about your grocery budget? Do you use coupons? Do you shop wholesale clubs?
    Thanks!! Carol

  5. How wonderful to have that chill in the air! Here in sunny Tucson, Arizona, it is still in the 90’s and our air conditioning is humming. The kids are still wearing shorts and sandals to school and swimming in the afternoons. What I would give for a taste of fall : ).

  6. Your garden reminds me of my childhood. πŸ™‚ Very fond memories. I have done a small amount of canning this fall, and with good fortune, I will be able to do lots next fall. Lacking an established garden puts a bit of a crimp in food preservation!

    Here in the part of Montana I’m in the fall weather has been holding steady. We’re supposed to see some freezing night temperatures this week. My squash vines, in a complete and total fit of irrationality, decided this past weekend was the perfect time to bloom profusely. *blink* Always something interesting to see in the world around us. πŸ™‚

    I second the request for pantry photos! LOL

    And to the person who has green tomatoes.. they do ripen nicely off the vine. My grandma used to lay them on a big table in the basement. And some people swear by fried green tomatoes (though I’ve never tried them, so have nothing useful to offer in observation)

  7. I LOVE fall!!! πŸ™‚

  8. Ok, so I’m postpartum and everything because this brought tears to my eyes…since I’m actually missing canning. YES I do love what I’m doing instead WAY more. I’m silly.

  9. Wonderful post! Sounds like a page from “Little House on the Prairie.” [:-)

  10. oh Mary, I love that post. I love fall and scince we are renting a very small place for the moment canning is out this season. but you paint a beautiful picture that reminds me why this season means so much to me. Very comforting, knowing that all the food storage is full and all the work that entails is almost done. Time for family walks in the crisp air, with a steaming bowl of soup waiting at home in the slow cooker… almost time to sit down with a good book, cup of tea and some chocolates. mmmmm.

  11. Good grief girl, where do you get all that energy. Can you send some my way…please.

    I am longing to build a fire in the fireplace. Unfortunately, we are still in the low 90’s around here. We are definitely ready for some cooler Fall weather.

  12. I want to come live with you too! πŸ™‚

  13. I too love this post. Please tell us more details about how you store your onions & green tomatoes. I have lots of both.

  14. Mary,
    Where did you learn all your gardening and canning skills? Did your family garden?
    Can you post how to can some stuff????
    Apricot jam and salsa would be two of my faves!!!
    Where in the world do you find time. You are like – uber-mom!!!!!

  15. Whenever I get tired with my pregnant self, two children, and new homeschooling lifestyle, I imagine you and your ten children…homeschooling, gardening, canning, getting used to two new darling girls…and I feel like I can certainly do it. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. You are so amazing.

  17. We had more green tomatoes than we could store 2 years ago, so I went searching around the web for recipes that used green tomatoes (we don’t eat fried green tomatoes–we’re vegetarian and they just aren’t that tasty without all that yummy bacon fat). Martha Stewart has a terrific (and simple) green tomato and pasta dish, and we also made a green tomato cake that was enjoyed more than once. We moved across the country this year and couldn’t garden but I’m really hoping to find green tomatoes at the farmer’s market–we really love the MS pasta dish.

  18. That sounds so nice! And makes me a little hungry πŸ™‚

  19. That sounds so nice! And makes me a little hungry πŸ™‚ I wish I did things like that!

  20. I love the picture you painted with your words. It sounds so cozy :). I love fall, not that we get a lot of fall.

  21. Multi-taskingmom says:

    Mary – sounds like a job well done. I love reading your blog – you paint such a great picture. Though I’ll second someones comment…how about a real picture of your pantry?


  22. perservereundaunted says:

    Very interesting story & you have a very nice way with words. A quick scan of your blog has left me with a warm feeling all over. Going to save your blog URL so I can check up on it, & read more of your posts!

  23. I love reading your blog. I am one of eleven kids and when I read your blog I think “I want to come stay at her house” and then I have to remind myself – I did have that childhood. We grew up with a big garden and my mom made us help pull weeds, can tomato’s, clean the house and so much more. Thanks for taking me back….

  24. What a wonderfully descriptive post! Your canning prowess is inspiring!