In the sweet, rich depths of late summer in the Willamette Valley, no one wants to do anything but laze around the campfire. I’m even too distracted to go camping, distracted by how achingly lovely the harvest is, the air feels, the sun shines. OK, this might be because I just spent several weeks pounding away at my keyboard inside, but it could just as easily be the reality of school starting or the sharpness of the morning or…see, I’m not even making sense.
Virginia Woolf once wrote about the unique potential of illness to stir up wonderful fancies in the imagination. When we’re sick and feverish, the mind roams and wanders down the strangest corridors, stopping to smell the flour or see the ee’s through the trees. She wrote about how reading becomes more like associative dreaming, and sentences morph and fade away into
To wit: I almost burned down the house last night, having turned on a kettle full of corn to blanch it for freezing, then, thinking of the caramel flavor of Meadowfoam honey in the dozen half-pints of Willamette Valley dark fruit jam I had put up that evening, I carefully shut down the back of the house, locked the doors, turned off the light, said goodnight to my husband, enrobed myself with a kitty, and shut my eyes.
I’m not even sick.
About 30 minutes later, he found the corn with a cry, and I’m in trouble, and I deserve it, and the corn’s wrinkly and was it ruined? I wanted to freeze it. I wonder if it would plump up in the freezer. Or corn chowder, I forgot, does he like corn chowder? And I made a salmon chowder last year with corn that was deeeelish…or corn salsa, that kind they used to sell at the old Berkeley Bowl back in the day. They’d sample it on weekends. I’d buy a pint and eat almost the entire thing immediately upon returning home.
Home sweet home, and sweet corn, triple-sweet. The corn this year, my friends, is not pretty. I went through dozens of ears at several different farm stands yesterday, looking for solid ears, and *every single one of them* was wormy. I’ve never seen corn this infested. I got tired of sinking my fingers into mush, so I gave up, distracted, several times before convincing myself I needed to try the Triple-sweet variety at Deterings. I managed to find five good ears before ruining them worse than a worm on a rampage.
And I can’t forget to pick up the dehydrator on my way back from Corvallis for the chanterelles. A big bag. $10 a pound! And more pickles and sauerkraut, the king of the summer, king corn, king of the mountain, yes i said yes i will Yes.