Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On Working Hard

Kitchen Duties

Last week I spent some quality time in my kitchen with three large bags of peaches.  I was washing them, scoring them, blanching them, peeling them, slicing them packing them in jars.  The jars were boiled then packed with peaches, filled with boiling syrup, lidded, banded, then boiled in a waterbath canner.  

After a few hours of this I thought to myself that the whole process was taking a "long time" and I was ready to be done.  But I caught myself and laughed.  It's laughable that I think that 3 hours of rigorous labor is "enough for this year," so maybe I'll move on to fruit leather and other more "fun" projects.  I had produced enough fruit for us to have one quart of peaches as a family per month until peach season rolls around in 2012.  

WOW!  What a bountiful harvest! 

Not.

I considered the privileged life I live-- that "I'll just pick up some more canned fruit off the overflowing market shelves next time I make a quick stop there!"  I tried to imagine how much work would be involved for me to actually put away enough fruit for my family to have peaches once a week through the winter, and fruit of some kind at every meal. 

I've been reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder in preparation to sharing it with Owen.  It's amazing how much people used to work.  Work.  Like rigorous, sweat-causing, get hungry but can't stop yet, wake up in the middle of a night snowstorm to do necessary tasks or else your animals/livelihood will die work.  

And so this weekend I had Owen helping me with the blueberries he wanted to can.  He was interested in the box of labels I had bought.  So, though I bought the labels for jars I planned on giving away as gifts, I said "sure let's label the blueberries."  We had nine jars.  I labeled the first one to show him how it was done, and let him do the rest.  After five jars, he told me thanks, but he was done now.  I laughed to myself about what Almanzo Wilder would think of my son tiring after writing out five labels for jars, when he was expected as a nine-year-old to plant entire fields of potatoes and pumpkins himself. 

I laughed, told Owen I appreciated his input, but he needed to write those last three labels. 

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