Sunday, September 12, 2021


Exhausted from the chaos and 'stupid' in this world, I have narrowed my focus. I am up to my armpits in tomatoes. They cannot be ignored. 

First there is the gathering. The very saddest part is that at this stage of the game, I need to be picking them every single day. I can't, because I am working 10 hour days. The garden is a half hour away. Last weekend, I got four bags of them, and this weekend, I got another large basket of them. 

I bring them home and wash them, and then dunk them in boiling water to make them easy to skin. Then I simmer them in a large pot. Last week, I did them plain, this week, I did them with peppers, onions, and garlic. 

Since it is just Tim and I, our large freezer has plenty of room. We're in a race to clear out the last of the venison in preparation for this year's venison, and the 80 lbs of chicken I bought last January is quite nearly used up. 

So I put the pureed tomatoes into ziplocks and put them away in the freezer on a cookie sheet so that they freeze flat and can be stacked. They can be added to soups and recipes all winter long. They join the bags of grated zucchini which will be brought out in their turn to be turned into zucchini bread (and muffins, thanks to Kelly). There's also sliced carrots in there and grated carrot, celery, and onion mixes to add to soups. 

Focusing on the little tasks makes my mind easier, and to be honest, I think the world would be better off right now if everyone was trying to keep up with their garden produce. 

I've got pumpkins galore. The vines have been dying off and I've enough to give away. I have never had such a year for pumpkins. William has his pumpkins picked. 

I had been planning to get back out to Dylan and Brittani's house in early October to get one last visit in before the weather makes planning these trips trickier. The last time I went out for an extended visit was in June. Dylan and Brittani were supposed to go away for their anniversary, but everyone was succumbing to a bug and so no one went anywhere at all. We still had an awfully nice time. I'd like to give them a chance to go away again. It will also be an opportunity to deliver a half dozen pumpkins for Iris. 

One of Iris' and my 'traditions' is the pineapple bag. It is just a reusable shopping bag with pineapples on it, but it sits in a quiet corner of my bedroom and 'collects' stuff. I dressed my children on a single mother's wage by using thrift stores and consignment shops. Brittani became intrigued by that, but out there on the more populous side of the state, thrift stores are much higher priced. I can buy them much cheaper here, and I do. Those things are washed and tossed in the pineapple bag. Books. stickers, new items for her dress-up box... As I see little things that would appeal to her, I buy them and toss them in too. 

When I visit, I always call ahead. This gives Brittani time to let the dogs out if Iris is sleeping, or if Dylan is working from home. It also guarantees that Iris and Brittani are on the steps to greet me, Iris calls 'ama, ama, ama!!' I call, "Iris, Iris, Iris!!!" When I open the trunk, she is looking for that pineapple bag, and it is always very exciting. She loves trying on her new clothes and the little surprises always tickle her. 

The pineapple bag is getting full once again. One of the things in it is a book about the Five Little Pumpkins. I am excited to teach her that little counting song, just as I taught it to her father and her aunts. In turn, I remember learning it in kindergarten and loving it. 

You know, I thought that Google had the answer to every question I had, but they don't. I was trying to google to see how old that song was. I believe that my mother was tickled when she heard five year old me singing that song, because she had sung it herself as a child. I got page after page of activities and crafts and pumpkin games (useful, and some of these things will be used to entertain little Iris), but was unable to discover the origins of the song. 

If you don't mind, did you sing that song in school? How long ago was that? 

I've got my produce taken care of, save some peppers that need chopped for the freezer. I will do that this afternoon, dreaming of a trip east that may or may not happen, I will think on days gone, and days to come. As much as possible, I will avoid thinking of things that I can't change. 


  1. Yor last paragraph is good advice Debby and one we would all be sensible to follow. As to the song - I am afraid I have never heard it. I don't think it is a song which is sung over here.

  2. I love the idea of the pineapple bag

  3. Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate? Try this:

  4. Oops, forgot the lyrics. (And they ARE timeless.)
    Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
    The first one said, "Oh, my it's getting late"
    The second one said, "There are witches in the air"
    The third one said, "But we don't care"
    The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run"
    The fifth one said, "We're ready for some fun"
    Then "Ooh" went the wind and out went the lights
    And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight

  5. Oh I know the song. I got her a little book that will be fun. When 'out go the lights' we can flick the light switch and the five little pumpkins glow in the dark. I am just trying to figure out how old it is. I thought I remembered my mother said she had sung it. She would have been 83.

  6. Oh gosh! I remember Five Little Pumpkins. My class loved that poem.

  7. Ahh, I see. I remember it from childhood too but I'm only in my sixties and my mother was Scottish so no help to you there. Amazing what snippets rattle around in our brains.

  8. I have never heard the song "Five Little Pumpkins" but I like the idea of the pineapple bag - containing lots of lovingly collected items picked specially for the recipient. Could you make up a pineapple bag for me? Stick in a couple of cans of "Schlitz" beer which was my preferred drink when I was a camp counsellor in Ohio in the mid-seventies. As I no longer smoke I won't need any packs of "True Blue" cigarettes.

  9. Your pineapple bag is a great idea and helps you to anticipate your next visit! Glad you have been busy with happy things to do!

  10. It’s nothing short of cruel you have all those tomatoes and you’re 700 miles away from me.

  11. I remember "Five Little Pumpkins"! I hope you enjoy the chocolate zucchini muffins. Wish I could take some of those tomatoes off your hands. Ours are long done for the season.

  12. Your pineapple bag is a good idea Debby. We start collecting food items for our own Christmas hamper from now on.

  13. I switched over to canning many years back because it saved on freezer space and to me, just seemed faster and easier.

    I have never heard that song until today.

  14. I have never heard "Five Little Pumpkins." I guess it wasn't a Florida thing!

    It always makes me nervous to stockpile food. I'm afraid the freezer will die or the power will go out or something! Dave, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to freeze a bunch of meat and use it over a long period of time.

  15. It is amazing what you find the time to do when working such long hours -- even blogging.

  16. You are a wise woman, Debby. Focusing on the little tasks definitely makes the mind a lot less stressful and people need to tend to their own gardens literally and figuratively.

  17. Not thinking of things we cannot change, or thinking of them differently - more generously, more joyfully perhaps - is something I have been pondering a lot recently. Meanwhile, very tough few weeks here and funeral to navigate next week - I might get back to blogging after that, but for now, just visiting a few old favourites. Best Mark

  18. Mark, please give my condolences to your wife. I give them to you myself. I will stop over to your blog to leave this same comment. I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother in law.


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