Saturday, September 6, 2014


Distant Field Burning

Walking into Walmart a few days ago, I immediately saw a display table filled with beautiful green Granny Smith apples in white sacks. “98 centsper pound” read the sign. I’d been thinking about apple pie and the price seemed good, so I gave in to temptation and dropped one of those apple-filled white sacks into my cart.
Mike enjoys late summer sun

Fast forward a couple of hours and I arrived home with my purchases. In preparing my receipts for the financial manager, the cost of the apples caught my eye -- over $8.00, or $1.77 per pound. That difference of 79 cents per pound was noticeable, and beyond that, it was the principle of the thing.
Spring Wheat -- Teakean Butte

So – it was back to Walmart, carrying the sack of apples and my receipt to customer service. I was in luck – no line of testy customers ahead of me. “I was charged $1.77 per pound for this sack of apples,” I said, “and I could have sworn the sign said 98 cents per pound.”

The path home over June's field
“Oh,” said the associate behind the counter, “that’s because they’re 98 cents if you buy a single apple but a sack-ful is $1.77.” Suddenly I saw myself in the fourth grade trying to work this as a story problem. I opened my mouth, but before I could say anything, the associate volunteered to check the display. She was gone a long time – and now the line was growing behind me. I knew she had discovered I was right and had stopped to discuss with a supervisor how she was going to process this transaction. When she returned, she found she had to first process the refund. That’s when I should have taken the money and run, but instead something in me became perverse and I stood my ground. She then left her station again and went to a checkstand to weigh and re-check the apples. It took a l-o-o-o-n-g time during which the ever-growing line of impatient customers stared at me as though I was the problem.

“Hey, I’m doing all of us a favor,” I should have said. “I’m not letting the store get away with over-charging us.”

Soon enough the issue was resolved and I walked out of Walmart with the apples and $3.57 in my pocket.

In late summer I traditionally dry a box of pears, so on this same shopping day, I stopped at a local produce mart. $16.99 read the sign on the box of beautiful pears, but nearby I spied a box of less lovely pears (culls, I call them) marked at $6.99. This fruit was ripe and ready to use which was important due to time constraints. And it worked out perfectly. I spent Wednesday afternoon preparing the pears for the drier, and by Thursdays afternoon they were done and ready for packaging.

Friends gave us two buckets of peaches from their tree today. I could see they were short of buckets and still had peaches to pick, so right away I transferred the fruit to a box and returned the buckets. Wouldn’t I take more peaches, they asked. So, I said I would and there went my sewing time for today, which was probably already gone anyway.

That’s the trouble with fruits and vegetables in season. Processing must be given priority in our schedules, and while there’s a certain comfort in preparing the bounty of the season for later use, I know we wouldn’t starve if we didn’t have it. It just isn’t for me as it was for the farm wives of yesteryear who depended on the fruit of the land to feed their families. Still, my sense of economy dictates that I should do what I can to preserve this bounty – wisdom, economy, etc.

At home in the kitchen, I examined each and every peach, dividing out those that needed to be used immediately and setting aside a full box that need a little time to ripen. With the ripest, I made a large peach pie. Mike tells me that peach pie is one of his very favorites. If I ever knew that, I’d forgotten it. Well, he’s going to be in “peach pie heaven” for at least the next three days.

And now, what shall I do with the rest of them? KW


Hallie said...

That camera is really something! VERY sharp photos. Are you happy with it?

Kathy said...

Oh yes . . . I just have to learn to use it appropriately. As we have discussed, though, "auto mode" is great -- at least for daytime shots. I just need to take time to experiment with it.

I also don't like to carry it around unprotected, so I'll probably decide where I want to take pictures and then carry it there in the case. I'm sure it wouldn't bother Bess and Nellie to do it that way.

Richard V. Shields III said...

If you are interested in trying something that might be a bit different, try a 2 to 1 mixture of peaches and blueberries in a pie or cobbler. The flavors actually go quite well together.

Kathy said...

Good idea, Richard! And also raspberries.