Thursday, September 22, 2011


I always look forward to this time of year . . . that is until it arrives.  Fall is such a BUSY time of year around here.  As though transitioning from the end of summer to the start of a new school year weren't enough, we have to throw in harvest time as well. 

I've always planted a garden.  As a little girl, our garden was enormous.  It spanned the entire length of our back yard and was probably 20 feet deep.  I remember dreading the work involved in its upkeep.  But when I got married, it is a tradition that Dave and I continued on.  And yes, it is still a lot of work.  Our garden is much smaller than the one I grew up with, but it is still plenty large, and we are always looking for new places where we can plant more.  Several years ago, we planted an apple tree and a peach tree.  I had my doubts that either would produce much, but this year is our first crop.  We have about 45 apples (they are beautiful) and we had 5 peaches.  They were the most delicious peaches I have ever eaten.  We also have raspberry bushes that produced about 3 1/2 flats this summer.  It's a good feeling to be self sustaining.  So, where does the love-hate relationship come in? 

 This does it for me!  Canning is a TON of work.  And just when I think it is done, a neighbor will bring over more things that need preserved.  (Not that I don't appreciate their generosity.  Thank you neighbors!)  This week, it is peaches and pears.  I have one bushel of peaches done, and two bushels of pears still to do.  It is not one of those things that I can just do in between whatever else is going on in our day.  It must be committed to until the end or the fruit will go brown.  And so they sit, waiting for Greyson's nap, or Dave to be home in the evening to help once the boys are in bed.  And when it's all done, there is a great feeling of accomplishment (and a very sticky floor to clean up). 
 Here is one of our turning pumpkins.  We have four this year (two large and two small).  And below is one of our sunflowers.  They did better last year than this, but I love their beauty. 
I did discover some ways that I can involve my boys in this years canning.  Canning is so all consuming that I often feel like I am neglecting my kiddos in the process.  So, this year, I have been placing the cut fruit into a bowl rather than directly into the jars.  Then, the boys can take the fruit from the bowl and place it into the jars.  (I know, it's one more step, but it keeps them feeling like they are helping.)  I also have Tyler count out how many jars we need and pick out the lids to match the jar size (small mouth or large mouth).  Chad is great at using the magnet to get the lids from the hot water and putting them and a ring on each jar.  Tyler even helped me chop the cucumbers and onions for our relish (using a food processor, he pushed the 'on' button).  He told me, "Mom, I'm the chopper and the stirrer.  Your the nothin'."  I guess my part of the work went unnoticed.  Such is is life of a mom.  Oh well. 
And so to those of you who are with me on this quest, happy harvest.  This too shall pass. 

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