Contraction


Fall has a strange pattern in Northern California. It is fall, it’s just not what most Northern Hemispheriacs think fall is.  The heat comes just as the days contract.  As the hours of sunlight decrease, the power of the sun increases.  Fashions and cultural patterns are confounded by this odd fall.  Rain is still on holiday till about October.  Maybe a sprinkle, but no rain.  You can still plan an outdoor wedding, or birthday party till November.

This year  cool July and August hampered our gardening.  Our tomatoes are green.  Some have pulled out their plants in anger.  I spared mine and they are giving me a nice  daily crop.  My heirlooms are still green, but I am hoping that they start soaking up the heat of September, October heirloom salads.  A mistake, San Marzanos, the Sicilian tomatoes great for sauce, I should have known better, are still green.  In Sicily by now they are sauce.  A friend suggested that we paint the green tomatoes and use them as Christmas tree decorations..

Just as the summer garden contracts, the olives find their stride.  The pomegranates and the late figs are on their way.

Our rainy spring blessed our fruit trees.  Plenty of peaches, cherries, apples, Asian pears and some strange combination peach plum fruit.

With no cold cellars or cold days, impossible to store these gorgeous apples, the real tarte tatin apple.  Maybe I shall freeze them.  My apple jelly attempts, were rather sad.  My mother could make a fruit jelly in a blink, all my fancy thermometers and techniques failed me.  I will try again, I know that it takes many tries to get the hang of making jelly.  Apple jelly had medicinal qualities for my mother, apple jelly on bread when you were ill was the most comforting of comforts.  But, now that I practiced, maybe I can make quince jelly, the queen of jellies.

This is the peach/plum fruit thing.  I made jam from the rather meager crop of last year, it was wonderful.  After giving a few buckets to the neighbors, I think freezing and keeping them for small treats in the winter is the trick.

As the days and the season contracts, the abundance of the harvest is overwhelming.  This is the second season with this garden, and the fruit trees are a blessing and a challenge.  We eat more than our share of fruits daily, but storage and distribution is a skill that I do not poses yet.  Next season, I will apply my lessons from this.

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