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Life Happens: Autumn makes me think like a hoarding squirrel

HAMBURG ó Now that it is September, my thoughts turn to autumn and all the bounty of harvest time. Iím sure there are people canning and making jelly from all the wonderful fruits and vegetables. I am not one of those people.

There was one year, when a neighbor gave me a bushel of tomatoes, that I almost learned to can. I might have too, except he told me that he always froze the tomatoes whole, like billiard balls, and used them in soups and stews, all winter.

So, because my basic nature is lazy, that is what I did. I filled freezer bag after freezer bag with big, round tomatoes. It was easy, and I floated them in homemade soups all winter. This year, in a fit of domesticity, I have decided to make my own herbal teas. I have an enormous herb patch, filled with many varieties of mint and other fragrant plants. I like herbal tea, but at around $4 for a box of 16 tea bags, I can see the wisdom of making my own.

I bought a dehydrator and I now have seven quart jars filled with dried peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, lemon balm and lavender. The dehydrator cost me $60, so I should use it as much as possible to actually save money on herbal tea. Iím going to need a lot more jars.

I also have an apple tree in the back yard that is finally having a bumper crop, after almost 30 years of sporadic, worm-ridden, ping-pong- ball-sized apples.

I made an apple pie today and then dried some in my dehydrator, so nine apples down, a thousand to go.

Last year around this time, I also bought a giant kohlrabi from Winterís Farms at the farmerís market. It had to be 10 pounds and was bigger than a basketball. I got 10 meals from that kohlrabi, and to think, before I bought it, I didnít even know what that alien-looking vegetable was.

This fall, I noticed they had more behemoth kohlrabi. I just might buy one. At least this year, I know what it is. Maybe Iíll freeze some of that, too.

Harvest time inspires me to jump on the bandwagon and preserve the bounty, much like a squirrel is inspired to fill a hollow tree with acorns.

I keep putting stuff in my freezer for winter, just like a squirrel. Squirrels donít know how to can or make jelly either, and they get through the winter just fine.
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