October 25, 2011

Of Canning and Combines

Dear Tomatoes, 

I know I waited for you all summer and I know I complained last season because you were so damn slow and I wanted you so badly and I know in January I do nothing but lament the fact that I have none of your T for my B and my L, but now, with chapped hands and the smell of simmering sauce still in my hair, I say to you: 

Good riddance.


This weekend, the forecast called for a hard freeze and that meant the pressure was on to finish up a few key tasks on the farm. Namely, tomatoes and tomatillos in the high tunnel and chickpeas in the field.

Let me tell you, Willa is a big fan of the tomatillos.
So, Saturday, Willa and I gleaned all we could from the already frozen-black vines in the tunnel and on Sunday, we spent the morning canning tomatoes and tomatillos.

After 8 hours (and a 4 a.m. wake up), this is what I had to show for my toiling and boiling.

As I've written about before, I'm more of a blanch-and-freeze kind of girl (although I've recently been turned on to dehydrating and I think I'm hooked). Every year, I vow not to can tomatoes. But, I somehow convince myself to try one more time. And again, I am reminded of why I'd rather not, thank you very much.

Tomatoes are why God created dehydrators. And the "canned vegetables" aisle at the grocery store.

After my morning, I needed sun and dirt and so I just barely made it to the farm in time for one last round with Jacob on the old Massey 510 -- the machine my grandmother bought in the 70s and the combine I rode around, and around, and around, in as a kid with my Dad.

Dad came out to help and waved at me, laughing, while I drove the combine into the yard. "Now, that's a sight," he said.

I really love the combine. There's something about the whir and the belts and threshing and the chaff and the motion. I just dig it.

So does this guy.

Isn't it funny, how a life you never imagined can turn out to be so perfect.


  1. You're all cute as bugs. (It's especially wonderful to see your dad looking so good.)

    Do you want a reminder next year not to can tomatoes? I can set my iPhone to call you at the appropriate moment :) - Jill K.

  2. Several things:
    As it happens, I have canned three cans of tomatoes just for you. It's true! And they're sitting here on my hot little desk just waiting for the next time you are in Heleena. And they're not just any tomatoes. Heavens, no. These are Prairie Heritage Farm tomatoes. Heirlooms, no less.
    Number Two: Clyde Lowery!! As I live and breathe!!

  3. Yes Jill! Puh-Leez send me a reminder next fall. :)

    And, Jennifer. Yes, yes, yes! We need to make a trip your way. I will take advantage of your and Jonathan's canning prowess any day.

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