The summer into autumn transition is well on the way – I can feel the change in the light and the weight of the moisture in the air. Can you feel it too?
This is the season when learning puts on a routine like she’s shimmying into a sensible sweater. The garden requires less frequent attention and the canning kettle simmers down. (Hah! Simmer…canning pun.) We turn from stocking the larder to eating from it, for fast stews, easy dinners, and relaxed braises.
I read recently that people either love summer, or they love fall. The article claimed that if you love summer you’re a carefree type who likes freewheeling days without obligations, and if you love fall you’re an organized type who likes structure and routine.
Whoever came up with this categorization is definitely not into in-season food preservation. I’m thrilled to be here, at the change of the seasons, moving into fall, in part because I’m looking forward to having more of those relaxed, freewheeling days without the feeling that bushels of produce are tapping me on the shoulder.
Bring on fall. I’m ready.
This week’s Five Things Friday randomness: emergency preparedness, helping after Harvey, apples and (finally) planting the fall starts, acidulating your tomatoes, the town where Golden Delicious apples grow wild, American power dynamics, Henry Rollins gets poetic, and more.
This Week In The Garden
Fall crops are (finally, belatedly) planted, the early apples are starting to fall of their own accord, pears are looking great, canning tomatoes are all full size and starting to turn. Blackberries are ripe, blueberries continue to deliver, and the Italian plums are nearly there.
Zucchini and cucumbers are still coming on, peppers aren’t universally fantastic but I have so many plants I’ll be overwhelmed with capsicum anyway. Even potatoes are ready for harvest. What a beautiful time to eat all the food.
Articles I’m Reading
Articles and miscellany from around the web that I came across recently. If it’s on this list, it made me think, gave me pause, or convinced me to hit the “share this” button.
The Israeli Army Unit That Recruits Teens With Autism (The Atlantic) “For many people, combing through each millimeter of the same location from various angles would be tedious work—but E., who is on the autism spectrum, describes the job as relaxing, ‘like a hobby.'”
The Last Wild Apple Forests (Atlas Obscura) Meet the town in Kazakhstan whose name means “Father of Apples,” where thickets of wild apples genetically identical to Golden Delicious grow.
American Narratives: The Rescue Game (Archdruid Report / Mirror) From a full mirror of author John Michael Greer’s now-defunct Archdruid Report website. I found the framework Greer posits here to explain American power dynamics completely fascinating. I’m just sorry I never got a chance to read the original comments on this quite controversial essay.
Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs (NPR / The Salt) Surprise! It’s not just honeybees that suffer from exposure to systemic pesticides! Other key pollinators are affected too. (Not really a surprise. Actually completely predictable.)
Product I’m Appreciating
I’m processing tomatoes this week, and tomatoes need acidulation for safe water bath canning. You can acidulate with bottled lemon juice or vinegar, but granular citric acid is my preference.
Citric acid is the easiest to use – just measure it in dry to each jar before filling – and the most neutral flavor option. It’s also probably the cheapest, when you consider how little citric acid you need compared to lemon juice.
If you’re canning tomatoes, here’s how much of various acids you need to acidulate your jars safely:
Emergency Readiness and Helping after Harvey
September is emergency preparedness month! (Honestly, even without Harvey, it is.) And since Mother Nature just reminded the nation that sometimes she’s just does not play, this is an excellent time to start a blog series on emergency readiness and preparedness.
I’ve wanted to talk more directly about preparedness for awhile – I even wrote a big’ ol section on family readiness for my book. That section, like quite a few others, had to be cut for length, but it’s a topic I really care about. In an emergency, your minimum ethical responsibility is to avoid being a drain on your community’s limited resources if possible – that’s where personal preparedness comes in. (If possible, guys – I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t call for rescue when five feet of water ends up in your living room.)
Starting next Monday I’ll be issuing a series of weekly preparedness challenges here. Follow along, and by the end of the month, you’ll probably be a lot more prepared for an emergency than you are today.
Where to Donate
In the meantime, if you want to help out our friends down in Texas, here’s a list of reputable charities doing good work to help directly in the Harvey recovery efforts. (This list mostly sourced from the great people at reddit.com/r/houston).
Citizens Helping Citizens – The Survival Podcast-affiliated direct aid organization.
United Way Houston Flood Relief
YMCA Houston Flood Relief
Houston Food Bank
Greater Houston Community Fund
J.J. Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund – Direct crowdsourced fundraiser for Houston recovery, this has already raised
nearly over $14 million. J.J. Watt’s initial goal was $200,000. Fuck yeah, America.
Texas AFL-CIO Workers Relief Fund
Here’s a crowdsourced map of local shelters and their needs if you are local or traveling to the Houston area to help.
Quote I’m Loving
“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”
I love how this Henry Rollins quote both captures the mood of this time of year perfectly, but also feels so poignant, given how many of our brothers and sisters are taking stock of some literal wreckage right now.
PS: How the hell does Henry Rollins manage to be absolutely everywhere? Does that man ever sleep?
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Ok, friends, that’s it for this week’s Five Things Friday. I hope your weekend is calm, your garden is bountiful, and your spirit is generous.