Thursday, July 23, 2009

Freezer Blues

Yesterday I defrosted the chest freezer. Last year was an off one for apples, and frozen stocks had gotten down to an amount I could cram into a picnic chest. This year, the weight of the apples is turning the branches into lawn draperies. The promise of a bountiful harvest.

So I unplugged the beast and went to work.

It had been a while. I don’t think we’ve defrosted the freezer in the fifteen or twenty years it’s been ours. To my shame there was the muck of a few messes in the bottom, whole wheat flour and apple slices in pinkish ice. Defrosting was part of a program to treat Permaculture household and garden as real, not just hippie affectation.

I got it clean and dry, running up and down basement steps between freezer, other chores, and compost pile. It was busytime, but not frantic. Time for thoughts to bubble up.

The freezer came with the house. I used to own another, but that was part of a long-ago natural food store, in a distant university town. This is really my first. Size, rounded corners, interior enamel in mattress-ticking colors, all tell me this appliance is almost as old as I am.

How long do freezers last? Will we have the cash to replace it when it crashes? Would canning take less energy? Where would the canned food go? How the hell do you can, anyway? How serious is the threat of fatal stomach ache from home-canned food?

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