Kitchen Garden Work Life

Three Cup Day

Bur Oak Acorn

Today will require an extra cup of coffee.

This week is the biannual vendor show at the home, farm and auto supply store. We’ll be short staffed today and tomorrow while associates from Iowa and Wisconsin travel to Dubuque to attend seminars and discuss products and process with our vendors.

If it’s like last year, my work queue will build up and I won’t dig out until Thanksgiving. The days will pass quickly and my aura may be colored in shades of grumpiness.

Coffee helps.

This weekend — Labor Day weekend — is the unofficial end of summer and I’m ready to glean most of the garden leaving only kale and peppers until first frost arrives in October. I secured seed garlic from one of the farms and will plant in September. The garden has been successful, the most successful in memory. It has been encouragement to plan for next year.

Saturday and Sunday I made a large pot of vegetable broth with items mostly from the ice box: kale, collards, chard, celery, three kinds of summer squash, carrots and onions. The resulting product was dark and rich.

I made rice with the broth, poured some in canning jars, and made a big batch of lentil-potato-barley soup for work lunches. I used eight or ten leeks in the soup which made it slightly sweet. Growing leeks creates a wonderful availability for the kitchen.

Last night I picked tomatoes, peppers, celery and leeks while the water bath canner came up to temperature on the stove. I ate a Red Delicious apple from the tree. It was slightly sweet and mostly starchy. It is time to begin monitoring the fruit’s progress. The pear tree is close to ripe and will be picked this week.

There is plenty of kitchen work ahead.

So begins another day in the final lap of a working life. I’m heading to the kitchen where I’ll make a second pot of coffee before work. The hot beverage doesn’t resolve our challenges. It makes them more tolerable.