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MV Gardening Corner August, 2013

Gardening Corner
 
An old adage reads, “As you sow, so shall you reap” (actually based on Scripture: Galatians: 6,7).  Another adage for the month of August ought to read: “As you harvest, so shall you can…..and can…..and can…..”  We are in the midst of harvesting the Lord’s bounty from the garden and orchard and I have been canning almost non-stop, either pears or peaches or tomatoes, or freezing green beans or blueberries or raspberries or elderberries….. thank you Lord, for your rich bounty, but I’m ready for a break.  The pears and peaches caught us a bit off guard.  Last year we got about two kitchen baskets of pears; this year we got two bushels.  Last year we got no peaches at all; this year, Bill picked about eight bushels!  
 
truckload of peaches
 
We have peaches in light syrup and peach pie filling and Peach Almond Conserve, and pears in light syrup and pear pieces for cakes and pies and Pear Port Compote, etc.  One of our granddaughters, Gretchen, who is only 5 years old, was with me one day last week and learned all about canning.  Since she doesn’t like nuts, she and I made a batch of Peach Conserve without nuts, or as we’re now calling it, “Gretchen and Grandma’s Peach Conserves”!  
 
canned peaches
It is a good feeling, however, when all is said and done when you see all those nice stocked shelves of harvested food.  One has the sense that you’re ready for another winter.  Why do I keep thinking of that Scripture passage though, about the rich man who tore down his old barns to build bigger ones to store his harvest (Luke  12:13-21)?  I think it is a good reminder to share one’s bounty or one’s good fortune with others.  Since Bill retired last December, he started volunteering at the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society every Tuesday, helping unload the food trucks for the local food pantry.  It is amazing how many people do not have enough to eat on a regular basis.  
 
 
 
 
peach conserves
 
 
 
 
In today’s age, too, so many mothers are not at home during the day and are often not familiar with how to cook some fresh items.  We are in “cranberry country” around here and a few years back when there was a surplus of cranberries, we thought we would donate some for the traditional Thanksgiving baskets, but they were turned down, because folks didn’t know what to do with fresh cranberries.  (By the way, put 2 cups of berries in a small kettle, add about ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water and cook for 10-15 minutes;  presto: cranberry sauce.)  It is sad when we lose touch with where our food comes from and how it gets to our tables.
 
 elderberries pickedWhile I have been in the kitchen, however, Bill has been in the garden or orchard, doing all the picking or sometimes getting other crops ready for drying.  The onions were ready for picking a few weeks ago, so Bill pulled them and laid them out to dry for a couple weeks before he trimmed them and put them on the drying rack for the winter.  He did the same with the garlic.  We should have plenty of good soups come this fall and winter.  The two or three winter squash plants that Bill planted in the orchard are taking over, like an octopus stretching its tentacles as far as they can go.  They are even reaching the edge of the orchard and trying to go beyond the post ‘n rail fence.  Last count, we were up to about 15-16 beautiful Waltham butternut squashes, growing quite nicely.  I can already taste them alongside some turkey or chicken dishes later in the year.   Every day another crop needs to be harvested, and we are trying to get as much put up as possible, since school starts up again right after Labor Day.  Making pesto with all the fresh basil is on this week’s agenda.  I have begun to love Sundays even more than usual.  Not only do we get to begin the day at Eucharist, but we get to rest and do nothing but delight in the Lord, or enjoy a warm summer day.  Sundays help so much to re-create our spirits.  Praise God!
 

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