Pat Shingleton: "Harvest Time..."
Less than a week from now we will enjoy October and the benefits of Octoberfest and harvest time. For South Louisiana, the rice crop is in and the cane crop is on the way. Harvest time was a necessary and fun endeavor for us, during our younger years. The purchase of the “deep-freezer” by my dad in the 1960s became a storage locker for all the fruits and vegetables from our property in Pennsylvania. Fruit trees included: apple, pear, peach, plum and a grape arbor, producing enough fruit for jams, jellies and an apple pie throughout the year. Our garden provided tomatoes, beans, potatoes, carrots, lettuce and rhubarb. In September, tomatoes were “pureed” into juice. I enjoy "pot' gardening, not cannabis sativa that has been approved in Colorado, but clay pot gardening. I planted nine tomato plants in April that provided us with a yield that filled a bushel basket. My wife, "pureed" the tomatoes and "cold-packed" them for future use. Back in Western Pennsylvania, I remember the sweet corn harvest and the assembly-line process of ears being blanched, cut from the cob, packed and loaded into the deep freeze. The use of Zip-Lock storage bags had not been invented so the process included "waxed" cardboard cartons that provided necessary storage. Another reminder of seasonal-change is what falls from our trees. Five years ago, I was amazed at the piles of acorns, against the curb, on the streets and scattered on neighborhood lawns at this exact time of the year. Our winter that year was much colder, possibly suggesting that fewer acorns relate to a mild winter. Returning to my Pennsylvania roots. In my younger years and in our backyard in Pennsylvania, the butternut trees were ready for collection by the end of September and early October. My mom insisted that we collect the nuts with gloves, placing them in baskets for storage in the basement. The nuts were excellent in her Christmas cookies. Why the gloves? The butternut residue stained your hands and was difficult to remove.