A Long Weekend

The labour day long weekend seems like an end for a lot of people. The end of summer, the end of freedom… the end of wearing white. But for us, it’s a bit of a beginning. August and September are the real months of summer. September is when the garden is fully mature and when we start focusing on preserving.

We started the weekend early on friday with a country drive to pick up peaches to can, sweet corn to freeze, and spelt flour so we can turn the oven on as the days get cooler and make more bread. We get our organic spelt flour right at the mill. It’s incredibly fresh and we use it for everything.

Volker, the owner of the mill told us to go take a look at a project he had contracted my brother-in-law to build for him. It’s a root/wine cellar he’s building out of a metal culvert. It’ll be buried when it’s done and it looks like a great idea.

Melanie began canning tomatoes and peaches with a little help. We canned some of our excess slicing tomatoes last year and they were a bit watery compared to the pasty Romas… but they were delicious. The flavour was exponentially better, so we’re now canning them alongside our traditional paste tomatoes.

Mel canned a pile of homemade salsa and lots of peaches. And then we broke for lunch.

Casual lunches with friends are the best. A loaf of bread, a ball of burrata, all the tomatoes you can slice, and a bunch of open preserves are just as good as an agonized-over dinner.

One of the surprises we found recently, apart from the biggest tomato we’ve ever seen, was the appearance of the American Chestnut on a farm near ours. It’s a tree that is almost extinct. Small seedlings appear, but a blight brought over from Asia doesn’t let trees grow more than a few years. Years ago it was a desirable hardwood–our house, built in the ’20s is full of it. A neighbour and friend sent a nut over to show us its unusual shell. It doesn’t fruit every year, so she was excited. Maybe these seedlings are original American Chestnut, and maybe, just maybe they’ll have some resistance to the blight.

And last, but not least, there’s my new espresso machine. Hopefully we’ll soon have the best coffee in town, which is a depressingly easy achievement. I spent the last week finding parts and rebuilding it, but it’s now up and running. It’s taught me that the machine itself is only half of the equation. A good grinder is definitely equally important, and I finally have it running. We’re all well caffeinated here now, well, except the kids. Although they’re loving the steamed milk.


  • That would be amazing if it was an american chestnut with a resistance to the blight!!! If only.

    What recipe do you have for canning your peaches??

  • Your posts are so inspiring! I live in the middle of Chicago and my husband and I have been trying to live a more self sustainable lifestyle. I'm just getting into canning and it seems to take me a really long time to get anything done in our small kitchen. For us it has been a balancing act of produce coming out of the garden and finding time to preserve it before it goes bad. We've lost some produce, which is sad, but I think we'll be better prepared next year now that we know what we're doing a little bit more. Anyway, I appreciate your posts and am jealous of all that delicious fresh food!

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