Monday, August 17, 2015

The season of Harvest

With the passing of mid-August we enter my favorite season: The season of Harvest.

The calendar does not recognize this season.  Rather, the calendar looks at our orbit around the sun and arbitrarily splits that orbit into four seasons of equal length.

Harvest season starts with tomatoes, sweet corn and mid-season peaches.  You know it is the start of "The season of Harvest" when juice dribbling down your chin seems, well, it seems normal.

Most years mosquitoes are in retreat.  The lawn demands less attention.  The grille starts getting a work-out because it is hot enough to not want to heat up the house but cool enough to stand outside.

It is a matter of embarrassment to me that I cannot keep my mother's birthday and my parents anniversary straight.  One of them is August 18.  The other is August 28.  In my mind this is an integral part of the start of the season of harvest.

Their wedding reception had been in my maternal grandfather's one-and-a-half car garage.  My parents honeymooned at "the cottage".  At that time the cottage was an 800 square foot structure.

By Thursday, my mom needed some alone time.  My dad decided to go fishing and caught the largest fish of his life, a 39 inch Northern Pike.  The season of Harvest. 

It is different in the city.  Out here there is no excuse to be hungry.  One need only bend over to pick up early McIntosh apples or Trailman or Centennial crabs off the ground.  Or one need only reach up and pick peaches....should one have been lucky enough to avoid a -20F winter.

Or one need only stroll through the garden and gorge on tomatoes and cucumbers, zucchini and green onions.

And this is only the start of the season.

Mid-September shows mother nature to be voluptuous and generous to a fault.  Early peaches, pears and apples that introduced the season are displaced by larger, juicier, sweeter varieties. 

I find myself becoming ever more attuned to substance.  The difference between 12% soluble solids (percent sugar, mostly) and 15% soluble solids is huge.  At 17% soluble solids, I am licking my lips and fingers.  They are syrup-sticky and I want every molecule.

October ushers in the fruits destined for the root cellar...Goldrush, Jonafree and Northern Spy  Some of the earlier fruit hangs on and become soft and highly perfumed.  These fruit make good apple sauce and, being soft, cook down with no fuss or bother.

October is also the season of digging.  Potatoes, mostly, but also beets, rutabagas and such.  Eaton Rapids is blessed with many "muck" fields.  This is a good time to visit one of the processing sheds and buy carrots and onions by the fifty pound bag.   Where else will you be able to buy fifty pounds of these vegetables for prices that vary between $5 and $20?

November is the season of meat.  The leaves are off the trees and the weeds are frost blasted.  Bunnies and squirrels are easily harvested.  November 15 is the start of firearm deer season in Michigan.  That is when I will hang out with my brothers and sisters, huddle together in deer blinds, shiver and tell lies.  Adult beverages may be consumed.  Food will lean heavily toward pork, eggs, cheese, jerky, and snack foods.

The Season of Harvest is my favorite time of year.

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