Blog-of-the-Month: Fall Harvest

Fall is harvest time. What’s yours? Pumpkins and gourds? Corn and soybeans? Heart wishes come true?

Mine? Since 2006 Pop and I have partnered on “Harvesting: Heritage and Lineage.” This project continues as I trot along after him in Daddy Trailer fashion. Aunt Mim’s (Amelia’s) music from the 1890s to 1920s found a home at Alton’s Hayner Library’s Illinois Room. We’re exploring Berea College as a place for Pop’s sheet music collection for the songs from his youth. Pop’s commissioned me to make cover art for his photo-documentation books How the River Road Was Made, The Bluffline Railroad, Glad Acres, and A Man Before His Time. Western Illinois University is starting a Thompson collection. And on and on.

As I work on harvesting the wealth of my father’s experience and wisdom, I turn to harvesting my own. Papers and journals are strewn across the floors of my apartment. One day I’ll combine my wheat field and store my crop in silos. It’ll take awhile

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  1. Janet,

    Fall is my time to begin playing in the kitchen again. Despite the back pain, I have created a new yummy soup, & hope to do it again soon so I can take notes to write it up as a recipe.In the meantime, here is the rough draft:

    chicken stock made with one chicken carcass, white onion, celery, carrots & sage, bay, & a hot pepper (and cloves stuck into the quartered onion).

    In some of the strained stock (freeze the remaining stock in ice cube trays), cook one bunch of asparagus. In a fry-pan, toast a generous handful of slivered almonds.

    Remove the cloves from the onion. Place some of the stock in a blender to puree with the cooked veggies, asparagus, the toasted almonds & an avocado. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice & season to taste with salt & garlic & more lemon juice if desired. Add water to bring to desired thickness. Let me tell you this is YUMMY . Healthy, too!

    P.S. Kitchen hint from Karen:

    Squeeze lemons & limes in ice-cube trays (ones that make small cubes). The best ones for this purpose are the ones with a silicone bottom, so you can easily push out the cubes rather than having to twist the tray.

    Freeze also a half of a squeezed lemon/lime rind. When you bag up the lemon/lime cubes, the rind will identify whether the bag’s contents are lemon or lime cubes. You’ll always have fresh citrus juice on hand, as little or as much as you need for a glass of water or a recipe.

    P.P.S. Make ice cubes also from the chicken stock. Freeze some in small containers & most in ice-cube trays. Put a label on each bag or container to identify the contents. I print up 6-7 labels for chicken stock & other things I often freeze & then laminate the labels. Cut so there is a tiny bit of laminate border surrounding the paper, so the Labels can be re-used indefinitely.


    Karen Mondale

  2. Janet,

    This fall my harvest are three gigs with Michelle Shocked–one in Ferndale, Michigan, Nelsonville and Kent Ohio, including one right next to my hometown of Athens! Are you familiar with her music? We’re doing her Arkansas Traveler album, which is being reissued. She wrote songs loosely based on fiddle tunes she’d learned in Texas as a kid. Many have interludes or endings that feature the real tunes. Lots of fun, but I might actually have to practice!

    The dates are Sept 24,25,26 for any of Riehlife readers in Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia or Kentucky who may want to come. Here’s the complete tour schedule on Michelle’s site:

    Happy harvesting to all,

    Mary Seelhorst

  3. Mary,

    That’s a pretty extensive and exciting harvest. It shows how steady work developing skills and relationships can take our art and music into the wider world.


  4. Karen,

    I’ve had the pleasure of eating your fine cooking before when we were down at your family’s place. I know this recipe just has to be good.


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