feast or famine

Sometimes life is just like that.

For several years we had barely enough work. Mostly enough to get us by, but it was tight a lot of the time. Now, for the past 2-3 seasons, too much work.

Monday was my first day back to the office. Tuesday we picked this up:

That’s 50 lbs of fresh tomatoes. We ordered them back in March (?) when the woodburning stove was still running. Around that time it seemed like a good idea to order two boxes. So we did. One box was ready Tuesday and the other? Friday.

Add into the mix that we are splitting a third box with friends, oy, that’s a lot of tomatoes. But you know, we eat a lot of tomatoes and we can greatly reduce the BPA we consume if we can our own. (Dr Dad, well, he doesn’t usually consider things like BPA, but he does eat a hell of a lot of salsa he makes from the canned tomatoes). Yeah, so if you’re keeping track, that’s 150 lbs of tomatoes in one four day period. And a handful of fresh ones in the garden yet.

So what do you do with all those tomatoes?  Well, you get your counter cleared off, put on your tank top and tie your hair back and get down to business. Top to bottom in the picture:

canner, pot of boiling water (for peeling the tomatoes), blue bowl of cold water (for peeling tomatoes), bowl of fresh, uncored tomatoes. To the left add in a few bowls to hold the peeled tomatoes and not pictured is the sink to hold the peels.

It’s a process, for sure. Heat the jars and meanwhile peel the tomatoes (if you core a tomato then put it into boiling water for a minute, plunge it into cold water, then it the skin will peel right off). I like to use these pretty bowls, because they’re pretty handy and clean.

So core, boil, cold water, peel, repeat.

Peeled tomatoes, ready to quarter and stuff into jars.

Load jars, add lemon juice, add hot water. Lids. Boil.

Repeat again until all the jars are full.

Bounty. That’s what this year is all about.

There’s something in me. It feels a little like a woman who lived through rationing during the war or through the Depression. I’m squirreling away produce because we have them and they are available. (Coincidentally….last summer wasn’t a good year for local tomatoes. We only canned one box of them and ran out sometime around February).

My husband is taking on additional work because it’s there for his taking. He’s afraid to say no for fear of them not calling him back.* Feast or famine. At least we’ll be feasting this winter on homemade soup, sauce and salsa. In between all the craziness that is two working parents and two children.

*I did turn down a gift of a tomato at work this week.

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