The summer into autumn transition is well on the way – I can feel the change in the light and the weight of the moisture in the air. Can you feel it too?
This is the season when learning puts on a routine like she’s shimmying into a sensible sweater. The garden requires less frequent attention and the canning kettle simmers down. (Hah! Simmer…canning pun.) We turn from stocking the larder to eating from it, for fast stews, easy dinners, and relaxed braises.
I read recently that people either love summer, or they love fall. The article claimed that if you love summer you’re a carefree type who likes freewheeling days without obligations, and if you love fall you’re an organized type who likes structure and routine.
Whoever came up with this categorization is definitely not into in-season food preservation. I’m thrilled to be here, at the change of the seasons, moving into fall, in part because I’m looking forward to having more of those relaxed, freewheeling days without the feeling that bushels of produce are tapping me on the shoulder.
Bring on fall. I’m ready.
This week’s Five Things Friday randomness: emergency preparedness, helping after Harvey, apples and (finally) planting the fall starts, acidulating your tomatoes, the town where Golden Delicious apples grow wild, American power dynamics, Henry Rollins gets poetic, and more.
This Week In The Garden
Fall crops are (finally, belatedly) planted, the early apples are starting to fall of their own accord, pears are looking great, canning tomatoes are all full size and starting to turn. Blackberries are ripe, blueberries continue to deliver, and the Italian plums are nearly there.
Zucchini and cucumbers are still coming on, peppers aren’t universally fantastic but I have so many plants I’ll be overwhelmed with capsicum anyway. Even potatoes are ready for harvest. What a beautiful time to eat all the food.
Articles I’m Reading
Articles and miscellany from around the web that I came across recently. If it’s on this list, it made me think, gave me pause, or convinced me to hit the “share this” button.
The Israeli Army Unit That Recruits Teens With Autism (The Atlantic) “For many people, combing through each millimeter of the same location from various angles would be tedious work—but E., who is on the autism spectrum, describes the job as relaxing, ‘like a hobby.'”
The Last Wild Apple Forests (Atlas Obscura) Meet the town in Kazakhstan whose name means “Father of Apples,” where thickets of wild apples genetically identical to Golden Delicious grow.
American Narratives: The Rescue Game (Archdruid Report / Mirror) From a full mirror of author John Michael Greer’s now-defunct Archdruid Report website. I found the framework Greer posits here to explain American power dynamics completely fascinating. I’m just sorry I never got a chance to read the original comments on this quite controversial essay.
Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs (NPR / The Salt) Surprise! It’s not just honeybees that suffer from exposure to systemic pesticides! Other key pollinators are affected too. (Not really a surprise. Actually completely predictable.)
Product I’m Appreciating
I’m processing tomatoes this week, and tomatoes need acidulation for safe water bath canning. You can acidulate with bottled lemon juice or vinegar, but granular citric acid is my preference.
Citric acid is the easiest to use – just measure it in dry to each jar before filling – and the most neutral flavor option. It’s also probably the cheapest, when you consider how little citric acid you need compared to lemon juice.
If you’re canning tomatoes, here’s how much of various acids you need to acidulate your jars safely:
Emergency Readiness and Helping after Harvey
September is emergency preparedness month! (Honestly, even without Harvey, it is.) And since Mother Nature just reminded the nation that sometimes she’s just does not play, this is an excellent time to start a blog series on emergency readiness and preparedness.
I’ve wanted to talk more directly about preparedness for awhile – I even wrote a big’ ol section on family readiness for my book. That section, like quite a few others, had to be cut for length, but it’s a topic I really care about. In an emergency, your minimum ethical responsibility is to avoid being a drain on your community’s limited resources if possible – that’s where personal preparedness comes in. (If possible, guys – I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t call for rescue when five feet of water ends up in your living room.)
Starting next Monday I’ll be issuing a series of weekly preparedness challenges here. Follow along, and by the end of the month, you’ll probably be a lot more prepared for an emergency than you are today.
Where to Donate
In the meantime, if you want to help out our friends down in Texas, here’s a list of reputable charities doing good work to help directly in the Harvey recovery efforts. (This list mostly sourced from the great people at reddit.com/r/houston).
Citizens Helping Citizens – The Survival Podcast-affiliated direct aid organization.
United Way Houston Flood Relief
YMCA Houston Flood Relief
Houston Food Bank
Greater Houston Community Fund
J.J. Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund – Direct crowdsourced fundraiser for Houston recovery, this has already raised
nearly over $14 million. J.J. Watt’s initial goal was $200,000. Fuck yeah, America.
Texas AFL-CIO Workers Relief Fund
Here’s a crowdsourced map of local shelters and their needs if you are local or traveling to the Houston area to help.
Quote I’m Loving
“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
I love how this Henry Rollins quote both captures the mood of this time of year perfectly, but also feels so poignant, given how many of our brothers and sisters are taking stock of some literal wreckage right now.
PS: How the hell does Henry Rollins manage to be absolutely everywhere? Does that man ever sleep?
• • •
Ok, friends, that’s it for this week’s Five Things Friday. I hope your weekend is calm, your garden is bountiful, and your spirit is generous.
Homebrew Husband says
Your thoughts on the approach of fall, of thinking that SUMMER is actually the time of pressure and obligation, reminded me very much of this piece I read a few years ago that really spoke to my feelings at the turning of the seasons: https://medium.com/@leelefever/ready-for-rain-f14703d4f4a8.
The rush of growth and pressure of activity that IS the summer garden is so different from the comparatively slow-moving fall growing season, the patient days of overwintering crops, and the arrival of spring.
I’m glad you said you cut that chapter from your book because I was thinking “How did I miss that!?” Thanks for starting the blog series. We’ve been trying to add in some better preparedness here and there (since the election gave me a little anxiety kick in the pants) but I know that I need to get myself more organized.
I’ll be looking forward to your preparedness posts. I have had that on my mind a lot this last week.
Kristina M says
Count me among the readers who have been thinking more about preparedness this week! I look forward to the weekly challenges.
Nicole A says
I’ll be joining in on the preparedness posts, too! Thank you for helping us all be a bit more prepared!
My favorite bit of writing about appreciating the start of Fall:
Note, it is supposed to be 100 degrees here today so we are still definitely in summer mode, even if kids have already gone back to school.
Yep, nothing like a disaster to open your eyes. I had actually just set up a separate 72 hour kit a few weeks ago (vs having most of the items scattered all over). Thursday on my way home from work I picked up a 5 galloon jug of water along with the milk and bananas.
You can also look up activites near you associated with American’s prepar-a-thon (https://community.fema.gov/)
Looking forward to the preparedness articles. I’m in San Antonio, Texas and never would have even thought about an entire town running out of gas. Well, San Antonio is almost out of gas and it may be at least a week or two before we are back to normal. I think it’s time for me to take preparing for disasters a little more seriously. My parents rode out the storm in Corpus Christi with no major damage. Harvey and the aftermath have my full attention.
The Crunchy Chicken says
I’m a little preppered out from year’s past, but I’ll try to participate. I know at the very least our water supplies need to be replaced.
It doesn’t matter if the IDF is using autistic people in their army. What matters is that the IDF is a brutal and illegal occupying force. Please reconsider sharing this post as it helps normalize oppression.
Emergency preparedness is a passion of mine. I recently had a terse FB exchange with a guy about EP for hurricanes, where he (he claimed to be a Certified Emergency Planner) said that it seem unnecessary to prep for an event that only happened every 5, 10 or 20 years. Needless to say, my jaw dropped and I suggested that he go back and sue the certification body that gave him that CEM, since his attitude was in direct opposition to most CEMs I have ever met. I look forward to your take on it, as I am always on the lookout for better ways to get ready for the BIG ONE.
Also, I love Milliard products! I bought a bag of extra fine pink himalayan salt from them. I’ll look into getting some of their citric acid, as I’m running low on lemon juice and my paste tomatoes are cresting like a tsunami over me and my tomato sauce making equipment.
I really love this citric acid. The vast majority of citric acids, as you know, are made from microbial fermentation of GMO corn. This one isn’t. Quality is great, price point is super reasonable. I’m a customer for life.
Ien van Houten says
Your productivity is admirable. I have been looking forward to September this year, but here in the Kootenays is still hot, dry and smoky with no end in sight. Smoke paralyses me. For the first time in 74 years I am experiencing summer as something to be endured instead of enjoyed. I have spent too much of this season sitting on the deck, noodling on the iPad, waiting for it to cool down. Voles have eaten the pole beans. Even so, I just finished filling the dehydrator with tomatoes and kale and froze a large bag with chard. There is a pail of beautiful potatoes from one of my fortress beds. Must build more rodent proof beds! There is another pail with apples from a volunteer tree and much more to come. There will be green onions and microgreens all through winter. No whining, just counting blessings.
Having been born in Houston, as well as grew up in Dallas/Ft Worth, and with all my family still in Texas… yeah, Harvey hit “too close to home.” Emergency preparedness has been at the forefront of my mind recently, so I’m looking forward to your take on it…