Fall

Fall is in the air.  The cold descends at night, coating outside in a crisp, white veil of frost.  A deceptive way of introducing colder temperatures and preparing us for winter.  Still, fall invigorates me; I convert garden produce into a variety of edibles and delights.  Tomatoes into salsa, cucmbers into pickles, horseradish roots into, well horseradish.  And the list goes on.  Tomatoes I find very versatile.  From salsa and chutney to tomato sauce, tomatoes are the base for such a diversity of foods.  Last year, with the garden abounding in tomatoes, I tried my hand at making sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.  While I only got one 500 mL jar from about 5 lbs of tomatoes, each morsel exploded with flavor and tasted out of this world.  This year the tomato plants didn’t fare as well and I didn’t have enough to make everything I wanted to.  And this year someone in the family planted potatoes.  (Personally, I didn’t really want to do potatoes because I didn’t want to be the one digging them up but I digress…kind of).  Now the planter is 8 months pregnant and has been ordered on bed rest so it looks like I’ll be the one digging them up after all.  She planted them along a fence.  In a field.  I know where the field is, and I know where the fence is, but that is the extent of it.  I’m begrudgingly going to dig up the ones I can find today before the frost turns them all into mush.  If it hasn’t already. For many people around these parts Fall means time for the Carp Fair, a local tradition.  The Carp Fair is both gardeners’ and farmers’ chance to display their pride and joy – their livestock, their produce, and their preserving abilities.  This year I’m entering hot salsa, my maple syrup, maple butter, and a stuffed baby toy (knitted stuffed caterpillar) I made for my brother’s soon-to-be-newborn.  (I have a sinking suspicion that if I were to sneak up on Mike and his baby spending quality nap time together, I’d find Mike snuggling with the caterpillar instead of the baby 🙂 ).  I had my tags printed off earlier in the week and I’m submitting my entries tonight.  They will be judged tomorrow.  I don’t mean to boast or anything but my maple syrup is pretty fantastic – it’s got good clarity, color, outstanding flavor.  The only thing I’m unsure about is the density.  Thick maple syrup is what I grew up on, what I consider to be the standard.  But I’ve heard others say that runnier maple syrup with a more delicate flavor is considered to be better.  And I think I’m going to have some pretty stiff competition.  There are a number of well-seasoned maple sugarers around these parts who know a lot more about making maple syrup than me.  I guess I’ll have to wait and see.  If it turns out runnier is what they want all the better; next year I’ll draw the syrup off earlier and run less risk of my pans foaming over 😛

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