After years of stagnation in house and yard, we made progress in the garden, and the flower beds are much neater and prolific. And now, we are making progress in the house, as evidenced by the (recycled/reclaimed) green carpet in the living room that should help us keep a little warmer this winter. The piano and other furniture, having been moved for the carpet laying are now dust-free, and decluttered.

This summer, I grew lots of yummy vegetables, and with Mother’s help acquired some chicken and pork for the freezer, ready to use at a moment’s notice. And used the pork fat to make lard for other culinary pursuits.

This autumn, I am using the abundance of the larder to try some new things and pad the menu. Tom and I have been eating apples off our tree for lunches. Tom makes a lovely gingered pear crisp using asian pears (and soon, European pears) from our trees. We have cucumber salad a couple times a week and soon it will be time to try the pickles I made with our cukes, too.

Today, I used a little bit of the lard, some home-grown garlic, some bay leaves from Mother’s tree (store-bought dried thyme and fresh shallots) and the chicken livers from the latest batch of chickens to make chicken liver paté. Unfortunately, paté isn’t much to look at, so a photo isn’t going to show up here. It also isn’t going to last long… We are enjoying it on crackers, and home-made bread/toast.

I used two online recipes for inspiration and then, true to form, used what I actually had and the flavors I actually desired to make my own. Marta Pantry had a nice-looking recipe, and so did Food and Wine

We are also making roast vegetables, using veggies from our own garden, supplemented with half an onion and a few potatoes from the local farm stand (which has since closed for the year), and the orange-juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and black pepper marinade that we enjoy. We have: carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and fennel leaf roasting in the oven as I write. It smells heavenly.

It is nice, on a chilly autumn evening (autumn has finally arrived, both by the count of the moon and the stars and by the evidence of the very cool evenings) to sit and enjoy a few simple meals and read. We are seeing the leaves turn now — and fall — and the animals are behaving in ways that tell us it’s time to pull together, move inside, and conserve our energy.

Autumn, chilly but dry still, dryer than we normally see. Measurable rain since the beginning of July is negligible. We are still having to water many of the vegetables in the garden and the pots in the flower beds. The length of day is shorter, noticeably, but the clear blue skies most days are more like we enjoy in mid-August.

Today, Grant asked if we are in the middle of a drought — I don’t think it quite comes to that on this side of the mountains, but it is certainly atypical weather. I hope we won’t see a corresponding increase in the storms of winter as we do some years!


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