Yesterday I talked about "making hay while the sun shines" and today was another day when I had to juggle the list. The most pressing big project right now is a fenced backyard, but the garden presented me with two colanders full of food and priorities changed. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm not so good at changes in my plan or routine, but I'm getting better at handling my seemingly endless list of To Be Done.
Some days the Overwhelm settles at the base of my spine and paralyzes me when the list seems too long and the day too short. Today's list was little and frankly I'm not finished with it yet, but I don't feel the weird burden on my shoulders of an unfinished list. Many days, I piddle around rootless while produce and milk and chores pile up because I simply can't get focused because there are too many things to do.
But as the garden slows down and the days get shorter that capital O-Overwhelm has quieted. The edges are dull and it threatens less and less. There are a few things that have to be done today yet...wash the eggs for sale, grate some mozzarella for the freezer, and of course there is still dinner and the dishes and the evening chores, but the day passed quickly, the work got done, and the Overwhelm stayed away.
This summer the garden has been abundant and to waste even the tiniest bit seems to me the worst kind of disrespect. I say this frequently about our milk, that to waste it means that I am disrespecting my girls and all the work I ask them to do. To be bred, kid, and then produce milk for a full year is the hardest kind of work...to waste that milk that took so much to produce...well, I just can't do it.
Sometime in mid-summer when I was watering, harvesting, and canning most days...hours and hours in the kitchen...it occurred to me that to waste the produce was to disrespect myself, my soil, the plants themselves. I started those seeds in January, nursed them through the brutal cold of February, planted them in March and April, cheered them on when the rain tried to drown them in May, harvested in the late May mud, harvested in June, July, today....to waste anything meant I was wasting my time all the way back to January.
So, what do you do with a colander each of okra and jalapeños? The okra was quickly sliced and frozen in quart bags....the tough ones split and thrown to the chickens. The jalapeños took a little more work...I chose to ferment the bulk of them using this recipe from Nourished Kitchen. Then I made jalapeño jelly. I've been making this jelly a long time. It's a favorite over cream cheese or with peanut butter (oh golly, with the peanut butter!!!). My recipe is well-worn, goopy, stained, and I don't actually follow all the directions anymore, but this is the one I use and I'm not even tempted to try another. Tried and true, this one.
Though I don't always like the share my favorite, "signature" recipes, I'm sharing today because I seek out recipes and advice and help through blogs and Facebook and various other venues on the internet and this is just a small way to pay it forward. Enjoy!