I spent about 4 hours today standing outside the Governors Mansion here in town, as a volunteer working the Drive-Through Holiday Food Drive. This is a big annual event, with two locations in Reno, the one I worked in Carson City, and one more in Minden to the south. In 12 hours, we collected almost 40,000 pounds here, with over 160,000 pounds total for the four locations - even more than last year! Even though the need is greater than in years past, the urge to give is even greater. I'm fortunate to live in such a caring town.
We got lucky with the weather too - chilly but not too cold, and little wind for most of the day. But now, tonight, the barometer is dropping, the winds are picking up, snow is in the forecast, and for the next three days the high temperatures are supposed to be below freezing. The blue kale and leeks are about all that's left out in the garden, and I'll probably cut more of the kale tomorrow.
I've brought the last of the stored eggplants out of the cellar - they were starting to get some soft spots. I think they held better last year, stored in the kitchen pantry - the cellar, now at about 48 degrees, may be too cold. I still have a couple of zucchini left too, so I'm going to make Unemployed Shepherds Pie from the Vegetarian Times magazine (I just love that name - it's a vegetarian recipe - no lamb, no work for the shepherd - snerk!). I halve the recipe for the two of us. It's one of my favorite meatless meals. Even my hard-core carnivore husband likes it.
I've been using the red onions - the yellow ones will keep longer. I did have to take care of one problem in the cellar before it got worse: I'd packed the carrots and cabbages in buckets with a bit of straw in the bottom, and then noticed I had aphids in those buckets. So I brought those out, cleaned the buckets and hosed everything off, let the veggies dry for the afternoon, and then packed them back into the buckets, no straw. I'm still experimenting for the best way to store fresh cabbages. I wrapped three in newspapers and put them back into a bucket. One I now have in the house, using some in a soup a few days ago, and coleslaw for tonight's dinner. The apples, tomatoes, and grapes are still keeping nicely. I bring a few more up to the kitchen a couple of times a week.