“Being done” with jamming before Thanksgiving was our goal this fall…. and so we were…. mostly. The freezers have very little fruit left… absolutely NO blackberries, strawberries or tart red cherries. I can’t say that every one of our over 5000 jars has been labeled, nor do we have the designs for a couple of our new ones, but, well on our way! Hundreds of filled boxes line the walls of the Dining Room, awaiting placement in the “new” farm store for this summer.
Seeing the farm through someone else’s eyes can be so enlightening…. delightfully for the most part! (These photos all came from Sean, the bread-baker of Sip Some Soup! fame) Friends and family gathered for Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving/Tam’s Birthday/Max’s Memorial, and found fall colors in abundance, absorbed the moisture emanating from the sky, and appreciated the warmth provided by fallen trees glowing in the wood stoves….. grateful beyond measure that the California fires were out, or mostly, and that the smoke was gone… and that our hillsides and forests are yet standing. Where and to whom to donate was pervasive in the conversations.
Here’s a sampling, along with our Fall 2019 Jam List, and a picture of the new roof in front of the Pizza Oven, which allowed us to make pizza, with 25 people at a time jammed underneath, out of the pouring rain.
As a kid, my family would travel each summer to Canada, to visit my dad’s relatives, most of whom were in Saskatchewan, on farms. One of my most favorite stops was to see my cousin Donna, who invariably impressed me with the fact that not only could she milk a cow (and had to every day), separate the milk from the cream, gather eggs, feed the cattle, drive the horses…. but that she could cook most anything on a wood cook stove AND make chocolate chiffon cake! (That was a long time ago, with years of raising her own family, working as a flight nurse, mid-wife, and surgical nurse in between.) She and her husband Paul came down…. and the moment they arrived, Donna was in the kitchen, washing pots, cleaning the refrigerator, helping me with dinner. In her honor, of course, I had the wood cook stove warming the summer kitchen, with a big pot of lentil soup simmering. (She says that she doesn’t use a wood stove any more, thank goodness!) Together, on Saturday morning, we shared our common “Doukhobor” heritage and made blintsi, Russian crepe-like pancakes for nearly 40 people.
Friday morning, as is tradition the past several years, Kashaya made Croissants! Lots of us stayed up late on Thanksgiving (is 9:30pm really late?!.) to help roll them, including some Pain au Chocolate. Exquisite!
“I don’t want to worry you, Tam, but there’s a leak in the bathroom, the one off the hallway in the bunkhouse,” came a quiet voice from over my shoulder.
Fortunately, Tom was here, and Paul, my cousin’s husband, had offered any kind of maintenance help. Hallelujah! The three of us walked down, assessed, and just as Tom was getting ready to affix an “Out of Order” sign, Paul, looking at shelves of electrical parts, plumbing fixtures, plastic pipe, galvanized couplers, copper tubing, fan blades, coils of wire…. picked up a random, plastic container he spotted on top of the metal file cabinet next to the garage door, below a pile of papers, and stated unequivocally, “Here’s what we need.” And he was right! He had found the appropriate rubber washer, and he and Tom expiditiously eliminated the leak. Now that’s what I call talent!
Thanksgiving, 2018, photo courtesy of my cousin Marc. How lucky I am to have landed here!