Tomatoes! Big ones, little ones, fully ripe and not-quite-there yet—my kitchen looked like a small market this morning with gazoodles of them lined up from window sill to counter back. So today was stewed tomato day. Blanching, peeling, slicing and simmering, yup, the house smelled like a pizzeria! And after all of that pot-clanking, juice-squirting steaminess, there are now 6 pretty red and green pints of stewed tomatoes cooling by the stove. Whew! Just six?! Felt like a much bigger production than that!
Fivelina was busy at Walnut Woodstove today too. Her big stew pot was bubbling away and the aroma of cedar berry jam wafted down from her tiny kitchen, right into BackPorch. She was out at the clothesline pulling in the days’ laundry from Bittersweet Line when she saw me nibbling my sandwich at lunch.
“Lovely day for drying clothes, Ma’am…” she commented pleasantly.
“Yes it is, Fivelina. I’m glad some of that humidity is fading.” I agreed. “I smell something wonderful coming from your kitchen today, what are you making?” And that’s when she told me about Cedar Berry Jam.
“It’s wonderful on corn-cakes in the winter, Ma’am…” she touted, “…and the children are particularly fond of it.”
“How do you preserve it?” I asked.
“Oh, in my acorn shell canisters of course. The boys have been collecting beeswax for me all summer, from some of the old hives that are no longer active. I melt it down and pour a layer over the top of the finished jam and it preserves it beautifully all season. Of course it’s so cold in the winter pantry, nothing could spoil in there then, but I do like to have the jars well sealed just the same.”
Who would guess? Cedar Berry Jam. And we had a bumper crop of them this year in FrontYard at Hare Hollow. And here I was waiting for the cedar wax wings to come and clear them out, but MouseHouse members have been making good use of them too.
Smart lady, that Fivelina and industrious too!
The mouselings start school next week, so they’ve been busy straightening their rooms and getting things ready for the new season.
Miss Winklesnout has the school room scrubbed and polished, every desk and bench, and the piece of slate she uses as a blackboard—clean as a whistle!
Tina, the little village orphan, (see Sept.23, 2014 entry) is doing well and Miss Winklesnout loves having a little girl of her own. She is a wonderful helper to the school marm, and seems to be getting along quite well overall… or so it would seem.