The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
This summer I was walking through a Reny’s store in Maine when I spotted a 15 quart white enamel washbasin hanging on the wall. I poked around the store, but kept being drawn to this washbasin. $22 US. Hmm. After lifting it off the wall and hanging it back up a few times, I finally tucked it under my arm and headed for the cashier. I’ve been happy about that decision ever since.
My mother had an enamel washbasin of similar size, dark midnight blue with white flecks. With that washbasin full of hot soapy water, Mom would take her washboard and vigorously scrub stubborn grass stains out of our pants. She would use that washbasin for bleaching special white items. Or she would take it to the garden and fill it with beans, lettuce, cabbages, tomatoes—anything that wasn’t full of dirt. Old buckets were, and still are, good enough for potatoes and carrots.
Now I have my own enamel washbasin. Today it is filled with ripe red apples from my neighbor’s orchard. How could I refuse someone who brings a big box of apples right to my door? The thing is, every apple tree on the Island is groaning beneath a crop of apples that hasn’t been seen in years, and I can’t help picking some of every variety. Our porch is full of apples and I don’t know what to do with all of them. I wish I had a cider press.
We are glutted with good things to eat. Last week we cleaned the freezer and discovered a large bag of frozen whole tomatoes, in addition to cartons of frozen tomato sauce still uneaten. Oh dear. So we’re giving away tomatoes, and putting the rest in canning jars—although we still have canned tomato sauce in the cellar from 2013. I guess our family isn’t big enough. Something different must be done next year. For one thing, don’t plant so many tomatoes…but you never know, there might be a crop failure, blight or something. I guess having too many tomatoes or apples isn’t such a big problem, as problems go.
I should mention that dealing with produce isn’t the only thing going on in the Cove. We had a Kitchen Party at the old school (which was painted this summer and looks fabulous) and everybody had a grand time. Outside it was raining cats and dogs, but inside our souls were being filled with song. More music please! Later that night a big wind came up and knocked down more apples.
Maybe a person can have too many apples, but you can’t have too many basins or buckets. Although I’m trying to simplify my life and get rid of stuff, I have my heart set on a galvanized steel washtub—you know, the big square ones with handles (yes, my mother had one of these too). So if you see one for sale anywhere, let me know.