But the Boss Is Already There

I’m so over January I’m skipping straight to May. If I learn a little more about what fruits and vegetables ripen when, I can develop a less exhausting jarring cycle.

Apples July 15 Sept. 1 – Oct. 25 Oct. 31
Blackberries July 10 July 15 – July 30 Aug. 10
Blueberries June 20 July 5 – Aug. 10 Aug. 15
Cherries June 10 June 10 – June 25 June 25
Cranberries Sept. 20 Oct. 1 – Nov. 1 Nov. 10
Grapes Aug. 25 Sept. 10 – Sept. 20 Sept. 30
Peaches, Nectarines July 5 July 20 – Sept. 1 Sept. 15
Pears Aug. 1 Aug 10. – Aug 31 Sept. 10
Plums July 1 July 15 – Aug. 15 Sept. 1
Red Raspberries
Traditional July 1 July 5 – July 21 Aug. 1
Fall Bearing** Aug. 15 Sept. 1 – Sept 20 Oct. 15
Strawberries May 20 June 1 – June 10 June 25

Last year, I did nothing at all with strawberries, but I’d like to be ready with recipes when strawberries are at their best. Last year, after about a month of shopping on Friday, prepping on Saturdays and jarring on Sundays and Mondays, I lost focus a bit. I was buying the best produce on Fridays, choosing recipes on Saturdays and shopping on Sundays for other ingredients. Better planning for dried herbs and spices, sugars, salts, pickling spices, vinegars, oils and jars would help a lot. You would not believe how stressful it is to run out of raisins mid-recipe for no goddamn reason.

A good plan, a stocked pantry and a little help would make a big difference

Asparagus Apr. 23 May 1 – May 30 June 25
Beets June 1 July 1 – Oct. 31 Nov. 30
Broccoli June 20 July 1 – Oct. 31 Nov. 1
Cabbage June 1 June 10 – Oct. 31 Nov. 15
Cauliflower Sept. 1 Oct. 5 – Nov. 20 Dec. 5
Collards May 15 Aug. 20 – Oct. 31 Nov. 20
Cucumbers June 25 July 5 – Aug. 15 Sept. 15
Eggplant** July 10 July 20 – Sept. 30 Oct. 15
Lettuce
Late Spring May 15 May 20 – July 15 Aug. 31
Early Fall Sept. 1 Sept 15. – Nov. 15 Nov. 30
Lima Beans July 10 July 15 – Aug. 31 Oct. 31
Okra** July 15 Aug. 15 – Sept. 15 Oct. 15
Onions June 25 June 25 – July 31 Sept. 30
Peas May 20 June 15 – June 25 July 5
Peppers July 5 July 15 – Oct. 31 Nov. 5
Potatoes July 10 July 20 – Sept. 30 Oct. 15
Pumpkins Sept. 15 Oct. 1 – Oct. 15 Oct. 31
Snap Beans June 10 June 20 – July 20 Aug. 31
Squash June 15 June 25 – Sept. 1 Sept. 30
Spinach April 15 May 5 – June 25 June 30
Sweet Corn July 1 July 5 – Aug. 31 Sept. 25
Tomatoes** July 5 July 10 – Sept. 15 Oct. 15

Pete gave me a pressure canner for Christmas. This opens up a whole new field of study. We will be jarring stocks soon to learn how to use the pressure canner, which will be important when it comes to preserving pumpkin. I love pumpkin. At any moment, I could need a pumpkin custard and I will be READY.

This would be so much easier if I could call up Dad and ask him questions well into our next lives.

Lost In the Dangling Conversation

Arrrrrgh.

Looters broke into the Egyptian Museum during anti-government protests late on Friday and destroyed two Pharaonic mummies, Egypt’s top archaeologist told state television.

The museum in central Cairo, which has the world’s biggest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, is adjacent to the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party that protesters had earlier set ablaze. Flames were seen still pouring out of the party headquarters early on Saturday.

“I felt deeply sorry today when I came this morning to the Egyptian Museum and found that some had tried to raid the museum by force last night,” Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said on Saturday.

“Egyptian citizens tried to prevent them and were joined by the tourism police, but some (looters) managed to enter from above and they destroyed two of the mummies,” he said.

You know, I’m smaller than a speck of dust in the flow of history, but about that stream, I really do care. I care that we preserve the things about ourselves that teach us where we’ve been, what we did, why and how. It’s not the business of royalty that matters, but the history of a monarchic civilization cannot be written without regard for its monarchs. We can go forward as we choose, but we must know who we have been.

Yeah. I know. Not everyone cares. Events in Egypt are hard to read about and tough to imagine. It’s heartening to see the courage of Egyptians protecting the museum while they stand up to the corrupt government.

You Can Swim the Sea

This week was nothing but struggle. Driving, sliding and skidding through frozen slush gives one a fresh appreciation for the safety of the couch/jammies combo. People went kind of crazy. Thursday, I was talking to a suddenly gimpy co-worker standing in his cubicle when another co-worker buzzed past me holding a bag of ice and somehow the first guy was sitting down with his pants off. This morning, I asked the second co-worker if I had imagined this and she said, “Nope, his pants came off in a flash. Nyuk nyuk.”

The Water Where You Came From

1. People ask me a lot of the same crazy questions over and over at the family store, but my favorite is, “Do you think this will look good in my living room?”

2. She rang the doorbell an hour ago in tonight’s snow storm. Apparently, the Sierra Club works rain or shine. I let her in so she could thaw for a minute and I would have made her a cup of tea if we hadn’t just lost water. Snow in pots and bowls was melting on radiators and knitted squares Darla had left for me were piled everywhere. I’d reached a miserable crossroads in trying to join them for cat blankets when the girl said, “I’m interning at this shelter for orphaned wild animals in Blairstown, where the woman uses pockets like those for the baby possums.” She wrote down the name of the shelter and its phone number. I stared at the squares, then I looked back at her. “Are you allergic to chocolate?” She said no. I brought her a plastic container from the kitchen. “It’s homemade cocoa granola,” I said. “I’m not joining the Sierra Club, but you’ve really helped me. Please take it.”

Only One Only One Only One

This is no time to cut arts funding.

Daria’s daughter Fifi is a delicate little pink and purple princess with the ferocious heart of a budding Jersey chick, though that may be understating things. Fifi is a terrifying force of nature in striped tights and mismatched shoes. She’s ignored me since she was born, which is just as well because who wants the adorable Eye of Sauron blinking their way? No one, that’s who.

Fifi started kindergarten in September and spent an afternoon in the principal’s office in the first week. I was so proud. Her teacher says, “Fifi, if you don’t do your work you’ll have to sit in the corner.” Fifi says, “Yeah, for how long?” She’s a prodigy. Thus, I was frigging overjoyed when Daria called me up to tell me Fifi had put down her crayons and uttered my name.

Daria: You should see this picture. It’s pink, pink, pink and pink. Pink dress, pink cake, no hair. Fifi says, “This is Auntie Ta at her wedding.”
Tata: I have never worn pink to a wedding.
Daria: You made us wear pink dresses to your first wedding.
Tata: …Proof that I spent 1987 and 1988 tragically underdrunk. That’s your fault, somehow. Had you tossed me in a bathtub and poured Blue Hawaiians down my gullet you might still be drycleaning recycled rice bag shifts with plunging necklines.
Daria: You’ll be pleased to know Fifi gave the original picture to her teacher as a gift because it’s so pretty.
Tata …But you’ll send this to my current husband if I don’t hand over a dozen stuffed artichokes by 5 p.m. tomorrow?
Daria: A pleasure doing business with you.