Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Autumn Harvests

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, though it is both exciting and bittersweet. Bittersweet because we close our old cottage on the island and leave it shuttered and alone 'til spring, but joyful and exciting because we return to our family and the new-old home and gardens where we work from morning 'til nightfall.

Here, in California, my citrus trees, lime, kumquat, meyer lemon, blood orange, navel orange, Kaffir lime, and tangerines are in full scale production, the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), blazes with yellow, orange and edible red fruits. My guavas, which I started growing in pots 40 years ago, are drooping under their load of fruit, and even some tomato stragglers are still producing. Luckily, the basil, which hasn't suffered any cold, is flourishing and readily picked for meals.

Time to plant borders of cabbages and kale, clusters of rainbow-stemmed chard, and a few dozen spinach, mache, and arugula. I can't stop thinking of Virgil's words from 70 B.C. "And let no spot of idle earth be found, but cultivate the genius of the ground." I'm trying NOT to let an idle spot be found.

"The prospect of feeding a hungry world has to be answered with smaller, not larger farms," said Charles Wilber, (who grew a Guinness world record setting tomato. Just think, if we all grew a bit of our own food. It makes me feel so great to practice my daily ritual of ranging through our small garden to harvest herbs, fruits, my own saffron!, garlic, shallots-I feel a sense of peace and pleasure that far outstrips our tiny plot of well tended land.

We are settling into the rhythm of our new-old kitchen. Abigail (named for my Grandmother Lovejoy), our beloved 1950 O'Keefe and Merritt, is a double-ovened wonder. She is able to roast a big turkey, bake stuffing and sweet potatoes, and host an array of sauce pots and skillets on her commodious top.

The tall green enamel coffee pot atop Abigail once belonged to my Grandmother. I found the pot and a stack of iron frying pans (of every size), a dutch oven, turkey roasting pan, and so much more when I cleaned out my Mother's garage and uncovered a trove of family treasures stowed since 1954. All the iron was in perfect condition though a bit rusty and crusty. I simply rinsed them thoroughly with clear, hot water, scoured them with sea salt and a scrub brush, rubbed them with olive oil and set them inside a warm oven to be re-seasoned. They are better than any modern product, and I imagine they'll someday be passed on to my granddaughter Sara May who so appreciates family traditions and celebrations.

Blessings to all,


Gracie Allen's Recipe for a perfectly cooked roast

Buy a big roast of beef and a small one
Cook them both 'til the little one is burned to a crisp
The big one will be perfect.


Barb Davis said...

What a joy you are! Loved today's entry.

sylvia said...

hahah. love that gracie allen.

Nan said...

You truly have the best of both worlds - the east and the west coasts! I love this kitchen as much as the one in Maine. And again, I thank your husband for the advice on the cupboards. I hope we get to ours before too long. :<) I've just ordered your "A Blessing of Toads."

Aunt Jenny said...

As much as I love my home of the past 6 and 1/2 years in Utah, I sure miss the winter gardening back on the Central coast of Calif.
Have a lovely week!!

Tammy Heller said...

I enjoy the pictures of your kitchen. I just love the idea of naming your stove/ovens. I have a vintage General Electric double oven/stove...guess I should name her! I love all the antique kitchen wares! Is the salt glazed crock old or a reproduction. I'm not familiar with the clutched hands decoration as being an old motif. If it is a repro...where can I find one? As Always...Tammy Heller

Sharon Lovejoy said...


The handshake crock is an antique that we purchased over 20 years ago in Maine. A handshake was the logo for my real estate business and the crock was a welcomed addition to the antique furniture and lamps in my office above Sharon's herb and garden shop Heart's Ease. I merged my office in 1993, but kept the crock. The handshake is an old symbol of friendship and trustworthiness.

Now, how in the world did you see that in such a small photo? You win the award for being a detective, but not the crock. Sorry. Jeff

Tammy Heller said...

Jeff & Sharon,

Your can't see it well...but I love your antique kitchen wares collection...and believe it or not... I have every magazine/book... (I think) that featured your cottages. It was Small Room Decorating cover...Ha! Good memory!(I had to go look)

It will be something fun to hunt for/find!...that's why I love the antique business! Tammy

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi all,

I am working on a new post and should have it in about a day. Please check back.

Tammy, I didn't know we were in Small Room Decorating. Sometimes publishers re-use photographs of our places and we never know about it until someone tells US! Thanks for the information.

The recent fires here helped me re-thing what household goods I would grab in case of a fire. I'll write about it and include photos in the new posting.

Blessings, Sharon

siri mandali said...

you are so lucky! i love fruits and vegetables and herbs!!