On the last day of September, I stood on my deck and looked into the little stand of trees in the flood plain behind my back yard. Though fall is officially here as of the 22nd, neither my garden nor the woods have given it much heed yet. Still, there’s some yellow among the green. The temperatures have finally dropped seasonably in the 70s for daytime highs and the harvest is well underway.
My jalapeno, bell pepper, and tomato plants are all heavy with fruit that’s not quite there yet. I’ve never had so good a harvest of either jalapenos or bell peppers. Doctor Roommate has been taking the jalapenos in to work to share with anyone who will take them and handed off a load of tomatoes to her mom yesterday.
We had plenty more today to put into a batch of Eggplant Parmesean. Parm’s a lot of work, but between the leftovers from dinner tonight and the potential leftovers from tomorrow’s planned game night dinner, we should be set for lunches to take for the week. If not, we got to Aldi today to restock the pantry and the fridge with staples, so I’m set for what we like to call “punt meals.”
Punt Meals: Quick meals off the plan for the week made with items already in the pantry, either because the planned meal no longer sounds good, we’re missing a vital ingredient for the meal, or because the shifting demands of the week require giving up the preparation time of the planned meal for something quicker.
Dr. R: Why are we having Red Beans and Rice for dinner tonight?
Me: We’re out of both tahini and peanut butter so I can’t make Dan Dan Noodles. I punted.
I like predictability. I plan meals not just so I can try to take advantage of sales items at the store, but so that I know what I can expect to eat during the week.
I like the changing rhythm of the seasons. The chaos of planting in the spring. The whirlwind of events in summer. The race to the end of harvest in autumn, even if every tomato in the garden decides to ripen at the same time. Actually, I’d prefer that; then I would know for certain that I’d have enough tomatoes ripe at one time to put them up for the winter. The long, deep breath of winter as the land rests before it all begins again in spring. Each year the particulars are different but the shape of the season is the same.
I know the secret of adulthood: It’s that we’re all faking it. We’re all making it up as we go. It’s the rhythm and cycles that keep our lives from flying off the rails.
It’s the last day of September. Tomorrow begins the final quarter of the year.