The Iambic Cafe has been mostly offline these past months, enjoying the summer, which seems to have been abnormally short this year, though things have kept growing and so has the list of things I’m preserving in the kitchen.
So far I have put up three cases of salmon (pink, sockeye and coho), four litres of gingery apple butter, a dozen jars of assorted mixtures of apricot and plum and blackberry jam, and a case of canned apricots. My freezer is crammed with bottles of apple & blackberry juice, I have two quart jars of lacto-fermented red cabbage sauerkraut in the fridge, have dehydrated herbs and kale chips and raisins, and am about to start in on the tomatoes. A case of Red Haven organic peaches is finishing its final ripening while the fruit flies wait, loitering hopefully on the cover to the apple scrap vinegar-to-be.
But even after all this, I can’t sit idle. I find myself thinking how useful it would be to make my own sea salt: perhaps a winter chore once I start stoking the wood stove, which I expect to heat me through till spring on the bounty of the mighty Douglas fir I had to have felled this spring when its roots intruded on my house’s foundations. The feller tossed giant rounds down as he worked – many so big I could hardly push them – and of such heft they made deep gouges in the soggy ground, creating a whole new landscape where the lawn used to be. Eventually, after several weeks’ chopping and hauling, the woodshed is stacked to the rafters and it should be about ready to burn by the time the autumn chill descends.
Aside from a brief and festive sojourn into the darkest reaches of the Shuswap, I’ve remained close to home, tied to house and garden and enjoying a satisfying run of good weather. A steady stream of visitors has kept me hopping between visitations of renovators and obligations with paintbrushes and restoration of trampled garden.
This week classes started up again in Nanaimo and we’ve commenced the final year of nutrition studies with a class on Eco-Nutrition, working through the fascinating if sometimes dispiriting text of Thomas Pawlick’s The End of Food. Not entirely new territory for me, as it echoes the UK situation described in Felicity Lawrence’s Not On the Label, and numerous American books by the likes of Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, Eric Schlosser, et al. Looking forward to the assignment – to research the origins and production of any five foods. We’ll have to choose carefully: I expect our findings are more likely to make us queasy than easy with what we eat.