Seemed like a good idea at the time

I like to think I would have made a good pioneer. There is a caveat, though (isn’t there always). I would have made a good pioneer who had access to a deep freeze.
That may disqualify my presumption.
I like processing food from my garden. I blanche and freeze bags of swiss chard and broccoli that I use for soups and dahl. Blueberries are the easiest, straight from the bushes to freezer bags.
I slice up my peaches and soak them in ascorbic acid to maintain their colour before freezing. I make pickles and jelly. I bake up pumpkins and stew rhubarb, and all the while I feel quite noble.
It seemed like a good idea. There is just one teensy-weensy small problem with my efforts, if I am confessing. I forget to eat the stuff. I had 356 jars of strawberry freezer jam that I eventually had to donate to science.
I gave the 400 pounds of blackberries I had in the freezer to a friend to make wine. And every time I freeze a chicken carcass for a future pot of soup, I have to wince and my teeth loosen because even if I made said soup, it doesn’t always end up in anyone’s tummy.
I’m not sure the pioneers–the real ones–would let me play on their team.
I’m not sure why I have this affliction. My mother may have suffered from the same disability because she had an enormous freezer that was full to the brim and I can’t recall seeing much food come out of it.
Of course, that was when we were all grown up. We didn’t have a deep freeze on the farm unless, of course, you count the steamer trunk we buried in the snow in the winter to keep our ice cream cold and a few cuts of meat.
Some months it was “deeper” than others, depending upon winter’s snowfall. We sometimes had to draw straws to see who would go out to get the ice cream. I was the youngest and often excused from the task–one of the few advantages of being so.
I planted 23 tomato plants this year. I didn’t mean to. I started 24 tomato seeds indoors and who knew that they all would survive but one. Then we had that killer frost in June and I lost two tomato plants, bringing the number down to a nice 21.
Who needs 21 tomato plants? Not me it turns out. I trimmed the excess foliage away, which meant they produced far more fruit than they would have had I left well enough alone. So I was literally drowning in tomatoes.
I have given anyone who ever smiled at me a bag of tomatoes and now no one will speak to me. I took bags of tomatoes to my neighbours’ doors, knocked on the door, and then made a run for it so I couldn’t be accused of abandoning the fruit.
I didn’t get any peaches this year. We had excessively warm weather in February, reaching 17 degrees C and my little peach trees went into bud and so no fruit this year.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There were five peaches–three on one tree and two on another. The little boys who live next door helped themselves to my peaches and happily announced they were delicious.
I’m glad someone enjoyed them before they found their way into my freezer.
I still have to find homes for 56 tomatoes. Wish me luck.
wendistewart@live.ca

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