Thursday 1 October 2015

The Gleaners

I had this print of The Gleaners, by Jean-Francois Millet, hanging on my dining room wall for many years until it faded beyond saving. ~

Only recently I discovered it wasn't a depiction of a biblical story but rather a criticism of the French upper class and the poverty it imposed on the lower classes.

Gleaning bits of grain left behind the harvest does indeed show a hard way of life, but I focussed on the resourcefulness of the women, who found ways and means of feeding their families.

I admit I am a diehard gleaner. It makes me feel good to busy myself in the fall gathering and storing for the long winter ahead.

The last of the tomatoes go into the pot to peel and freeze. ~

Basil is chopped and covered with olive oil to freeze. ~

The last of the corn has been blanched and frozen and the chickens, the ultimate gleaners, have feasted on the kernels left clinging to the cobs. ~

The girls are scurrying about the yard all day at this time of year, pecking at bugs, fallen fruit and grasses gone to seed to put on the extra weight they will need to keep warm in the winter months. They've finished molting and grown a nice, thick coat of feathers.

Don't you just love Vivian's bloomers? ~

This year I've added nutting to my foraging.  My sister called to say the row of hickory trees just outside the village were loaded with nuts. No one has ever gathered them to my knowledge. To be honest, I didn't even know what one tasted like. A little Google session later, I discovered Hickory nuts are right up there with macadamias for a gourmet treat. Shelled, they sell for $24/lb. online. One site said that while walnuts are the Chevys of the nut world and pecans are the Oldsmobiles, hickory nuts are the Cadillacs. They were right! They are murder to crack, but the fruit is soooo worth the effort!

The temperatures dropped dramatically here last night and it's time to haul the potted herbs indoors. The freezer is full and the sealer jars are lined up on the shelves. ~

Yup, I'm happy with my tendency to be a gleaner and storer!

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