Grandmother Moon

I know that the traditional names for the August Moon are Barley Moon, Corn Moon, Red Moon and such. As of yesterday I titled this post ‘Corn Moon’ after a little protection charm I made. However, today, as J and I set off to buy a chest freezer and I had just finished a batch of jam I knew that I really celebrated my grandmother during this esbat.

Last night, I did a small ritual. I blended up some Solar Protection Oil (is that weird on a Full Moon…eh? Whatever) and had a sheaf of corn that I had dried and wanted to charm for the house/as a harvest decoration. I plan to find a place for it to hang, perhaps at the beginning of September.

Solar Protection Oil: Orange, Pine, Rosemary and Patchouli blended with Sweet Almond Oil

Dried Corn Sheaf Blessed with Protection Oil

The above isn’t the best picture–many apologies, my corn sheaf isn’t photogenic 😉 (That sentence made me laugh.)

Anyway…I woke up this morning and prepared to make my first jam, ever! I’ve never canned before and was extremely nervous. The whole idea of botulism kind of freaked me out. I didn’t want to shell out money for the equipment before I knew if I even liked it, so I took some pointers from this website about how to can without the equipment. I did buy jars, though (she recommends reusing jars). When I pulled them out of the package, much to my delight, they were the same quilted pattern my grandmother had used when she canned.  I hadn’t noticed when I put them in the shopping cart earlier that week.

Mixed Berry Jam with Allspice, Clove, Nutmeg and Ginger

Mmmm. Jam. Lots of finger swiping.

After I set the jam to seal and cool, J and I decided to make a purchase we’ve talked about for a long time: a chest freezer. We have visions of buying a side of grass-fed beef (anyone want to split one if I can find a provider this late in the season…anyone?) and preserving our garden harvest. So, today, we decided to do that.

Not to get sentimental about an appliance, but one of the things I remember most vividly about my grandmother’s house was her chest freezer in the garage. It held all sorts of yummy things, like a plethora of half gallons of Blue Bell ice cream (Tin Roof, Rocky Road, Pecan Praline and the best…Homemade Vanilla). Blue metal utility shelves lined the back wall of the garage, filled to the brim with preserved veggies from their garden, jam and, most importantly, apple butter.

Oh, gods, the apple butter. That will definitely be happening this year.

Anyway, as I set about doing all of these harvest-y, homey type tasks I felt so, so close to my grandmother. She hasn’t passed over yet, but she turned 90 this year and lives under the care of my parents. It’s hard to see her age as she was the matriarch of the family, the rope that bound our family together during some truly harrowing times. Honoring her this moon, remembering her, acting as she taught me to act: to preserve, to be frugal, to make a home, to tell stories, to laugh—is truly a blessing I won’t soon forget.

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5 comments on “Grandmother Moon

  1. sweetcomice says:

    What a lovely post. I think about my grandmother every time I make jam or can anything. Don’t worry about botulism with berries. They are acid enough to keep botulism at bay…..and usually the sugar helps preserve them too. Often it is just mold that grows on top of the jam after the seal is broken, especially if some errant fingers get in there for a midnight taste. Just scrape the mold off.
    I will have an incredible apple crop this year and would love to share recipes….I have a caramel applesauce I can each fall…..it is great alone, over ice cream, or served with chicken or pork or venison. Again, I am enjoying your writing and life. I have my little rituals…..

  2. Jax says:

    We get our meat from here: http://www.paidom.com/orders.htm (I sent you to the orders page because the website is atrociously difficult to find anything on). They sell beef (grass fed and finished) in 50lb increments for a reasonable price, so you don’t have to do a half a cow. We’ve ordered from them twice now, and while there are the usual mishaps that occur when working with a family operation (the first time we ordered, we got a panicked phone call that they had accidentally seasoned our pork bellies, which we had ordered raw and unseasoned; we assured them that was okay. This time we got unseasoned pork belly.) (Yay home-smoked bacon!) With the 50lb beef package, you do get a lot of ground, but that would happen if you ordered a half a cow or whatever. Unfortunately they just did their swing (the do deliveries to Austin – and a whole host of other places – every two months so it’ll be like the beginning of October before they come by again) but we’ve been really happy. The meat is SO tasty. I am completely spoiled and have been turning my nose up at corn-fed beef for months now.

    • Thanks for the link! I’ll definitely check it out. I contacted Alexander Family Farms, but haven’t heard back yet. We have friends who want to split, but they’re moving/have a busy life right now, so who knows if it’ll actually happen…so the 50 lb. package looks like a good option for us if the other falls through.

  3. Jax says:

    Ooh! I’ve done Thanksgiving turkeys from AFF before. Nice people! Very tasty turkey. A couple years ago something happened with a family member or something (I clearly know this story well) and they had to temporarily move north or bounce back and forth between here and another state or something crazy like that, and they’ve been less… customer service-y since then. But they are really nice and what I’ve eaten from them is good. Plus I’ve visited the farm, and the turkeys were very happily wandering around in a big fenced yard. I didn’t see the cattle, but I’d assume it was a similar happy free-range situation.

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