Saturday, July 24, 2021

Can Do


Hold onto yer britches, I'm a-comin'! I'm just wiping down the counter. I put by twenty pounds of broccoli, or maybe thirty, I'd have to put my cheaters on to tell for sure. It was nothing! Just a little can-do Sunday activity. Pick, cut, clean, blanch, cool, dry, freeze. The broccoli? Just the four plants, and no, I didn't start them from last year's seed this time. I've never done that, actually, because they come all ready to go in a plastic four-pack at the garden store down the way. Real good crop so far. Real good, and still coming on. Come on in, set a spell. I'll see can I fetch us some sarsaparillas.

It is a little close in here, isn't it? Picked the hottest day of the summer so far to be b'iling water but you can't argue with a harvest. Leave 'em another day and they'd be fixing to bloom. Just look at all that bounty! Why, pop me in calico and slap my fanny. It's that round squishy bit right there below the bow of my flour-sack apron, and I don't mind if you do.

It's no big deal. It's just a matter of self-reliance, and Lord knows we could use a lot more of that these days, if you don't mind me saying so. People these days aren't willing to put in the work. Expect other people to take care of them. They're going to be lost some day without the thrift and know-how that I personally demonstrated by putting by all that broccoli.

There's nothing to it. You just make do, you fend for yourself. How did I know what to do, you ask? I come from good Norwegian stock, farmers they were. It's in my blood.

Also, I looked it up on the youtubes to be sure.

I mean, no reason not to be modern. You don't want to rely on such a thing, but it's nice. Still have to use your common sense. Oh, and another little tip of the bonnet to our chest freezer and stovetop and all that hydropower. Well there's some hydropower for sure, the mighty Columbia River, and sorry to all the salmon, but if they were sturdy self-sufficient sorts they wouldn'ta been hatched when we was trying to make electricity out of the very substance they need to live. They'll adapt. Maybe 99% of them will die but one of them will love hot shallow water and slicey turbines and that baby's gonna thrive. Anyway. A little nod to the hydropower, plus the buttload of coal plants up north that also apparently figure into our power. Okay, mostly it's coal plants. But water too. And speaking of water, thanks also to all that water that come right out of the tap because of the good people that dammed up our natural reservoirs at Bull Run--it's a mighty slick system. It's so slick we flush poop with it.

Oh, I'd like to give a little shout-out to that Salad Spinner too. Of course, I could have put my broccoli in a bit of cheesecloth and whipped it around my head, but the Salad Spinner is so much easier, and maybe it'll take a few thousand years to degrade, but I only had to buy it once.

Sure, I could've gone to the grocery store, three of which are in walking distance, and bought plastic bags of frozen broccoli, but I take care of myself. I don't depend on other people. The store is for buying animals someone else has jammed into a pen and slaughtered and scraped the fur and feathers off of and wrapped in plastic. Not frozen broccoli, because I can do that myself. Because I am a can-do person.

I'm self-sufficient.

30 comments:

  1. Near here we have the potential hydropower of the Severn Estuary, which has the second highest tide in the world - something like 25 feet. That's a lot of water going up and down every 24 hours. It isn't used because the French company who supply our electricity does not want to lose money.

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    1. There's a lot of good that could happen for people if we weren't trying to make money doing it.

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  2. I am fortunate to have an organic farm with its own market a short distance away, because I have very little room for a vegetable garden. We have so many trees that the only sunny spot is right by the driveway, so Paul built a cold frame and another raised bed right onto the side of the driveway. I mostly plant tomatoes, hot peppers, and herbs. I use a pressure canner to can enough tomatoes to last until the following year, and pickle the peppers.

    BTW, Murr, this has nothing to do with the post, but about birds. I got a book from the library called The Love Lives of Birds by Laura Erickson. It's just about their courtship and mating rituals, so each chapter is short. But, oh!... the analogies she uses! I love me a good analogy! She compares various birds' styles to Shakespearean plays, Rogers & Hammerstein musicals, and she compared chickadees to characters in Jane Austen novels. It was both informative and funny. I thought I'd recommend it to you.

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    1. Thanks! Now I have to read Jane Austen novels!

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    2. mimimanderly, As an aside I occasionally dropped off healed raptors from the U of Mn to Laura to finish rehabbing and release. It was way back in the early 80s. Got some early fascination with birds from the Prime Hook reserve.

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    3. She sounds like a delightful person. I loved her book and it's wit and humor.

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    4. Thank you Mimi for the recommendation — I MUST get that book!!!

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    5. Without delay, I just ordered it. Thank you again!

      This is my own addition to the genre, written a few years ago:

      LESSONS FROM THE SPRING

      [NOTE: grebe (order Podicipediformes):  In nearly all courtship ceremonies, the roles of the sexes are interchangeable. The same is true of the precopulatory displays, and reverse mounting has been reported for all species that have been thoroughly studied. —from Robert W. Storer's article in The Encylop√¶dia Britannica (online)]


      A Brewer's blackbird
      whistled a wedding march
      for the pair of mourning doves
      mating in the still-bare Chinese tallow tree
      while below, a white-crowned sparrow
      industriously kept the floor clean.
      Watching the ceremony taught me only
      which one of the pair was the male,
      and that, only for a moment.

      Had they instead been western grebes
      caressing each other with
      green leaves held in dagger-like bills
      exchanging a reassuring glance with blazing scarlet eyes,
      rushing headlong across the water side-by-side
      then eagerly taking turns
      I would not have known
      even that.

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    6. Even though I already read the book in just a couple days and returned it to the library... I'm going to buy a copy simply because a) it's about birds, and 2) it's just so funny and charming. I would have totally missed this book if we didn't end the "pandemic emergency" here in Delaware, which opened up the libraries to browsers, as opposed to people who KNOW what they are looking for.

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    7. Mimi, I'm still trying to remember who recommended The Hummingbird's Gift, which I loved. Was that you?

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    8. Ir wasn't me, but I definitely will look out for it because you mentioned it. Birds are my world, and I love them dearly. I have had way fewer hummers this year than I usually get. Every other year, they are fighting each other for space at the feeders. I wonder if the Texas freeze might have killed some of them off on their migration, as it did the bluebirds?

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    9. We have our usual number of hummingbirds here (35 miles N.E. of SF Bay). Of course since one male is ruling the yard, if we had scads of feeders there would be less competition, more birds, and a better idea as to whether the population is changing. BTW I saw my first spotted towhee in the yard today, scratching in the wood chips!

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  3. Well, this was certainly an impressive read and I greatly admire you few that still have a pioneer spirit; but hey, I live in a high-rise apartment building, at least I take up a very small thumbprint! BTW, I'm ready to become a vegetarian after reading those animal contents here--ugh!

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  4. "It is a thrill to possess shelves well stocked with home-canned food. In fact, you will find their inspection -- often surreptitious -- and the pleasure of serving the fruits of your labor comparable only to a clear conscience or a very becoming hat." -- Irma Rombauer, author of the Joy of Cooking

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    1. We have a copy of Joy of Cooking from about 1940 and I need to read it more carefully. I KNOW there are references to the "colored cook" in there.

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  5. So much thinking and in-my-head shouting going on after this read. All I can come up with is , 'Water is Life'. Oh, and fixin' has an apostrophe, not a g.

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  6. You're looking mighty proud there Ma Kettle! I like to think of myself as self-sufficient and did once grow my own vegetables, but I can no longer do that, but being 1% Norwegian and having that 1% being a canning gene, I buy fresh vegetables like carrots and green beans and do the whole prepare, blanch, dry and freeze thing. I also prepare things like burgers (just the meat patties, not the whole bun thing), chicken schnitzels, beef casseroles and so on in large amounts and freeze individual portions to see me through. Not because I have to, but because I like to.

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    1. I've never canned a thing. That seems awfully advanced. I love making a big-ass lasagna and whacking it into squares to freeze.

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    2. It's not difficult IF you have a pressure canner and can follow instructions precisely. It takes a LOT less time and I don't have a dedicated freezer. It takes a lot less room to just keep the cans in our basement and get them as we need them. Plus, it makes me feel all accomplished and stuff! Start out with pickling; that's easy and requires no pressure canner (although I use it anyway as a steamer-canner.) Also, I recently fermented pickles and sauerkraut, which requires no special stuff besides a mason jar and salt. In just a few days I had pickle chips that tasted like the pickles I got in barrels in the supermarket back in the day.

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    3. My plan is to suck up to the neighbor who cans, but thanks!

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    4. I prefer the freezer method too, no washing and sterilising of hundreds of jars needed.

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    5. I myself would rather do that than have to buy a big friggin' freezer, find an inconvenient place to put it, and pay lots more for electricity to maintain it. But that's just me. I get loads of jars at garage sales, and the lids are easy to come by UNLESS there's a pandemic and EVERYONE is canning shit. I had to get lids from China, FFS, because hardware stores were out, and even Ball didn't have any online!

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  7. Nice job! I'll bet Dave still appreciates the squishy bits below the bow, too!

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  8. When I was a kid we had a massive garden and spent everyday weeding, watering, picking, canning and freezing. Thank God South Dakota summers are short! I miss home canned beans and going to the garden to pick a few leaves of lettuce for my lunch sandwich and some strawberries for dessert. Yes I miss having a garden, but whenever I get the urge to start planting, I lie down till it passes.

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    1. I'm not real organized about it and don't put much by, but I do love me some fresh lettuce and peppers and tomatoes and basil. I have a feeling people are going to need to brush up on their skills right soon, though.

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