This week I have been very busy with the garden. We have had a cool summer this year but we had rain on a regular basis. So as you can see the garden is flourishing! I purposely planted later in the spring so all the produce in the garden would not be ready during our late August vacation this year. Now that it is the first week of September the coolness of fall is in the air. My beans are just starting and the tomatoes are getting red but very slowly.
I have to try to rein myself in when planting time arrives. I see all the empty space between the rows and I try to convince myself that I can fit one more row or one more squash mound! I try to plant too much in my small space. I have plenty of room but I need to use it wisely.
So this week I am preserving all the produce from my little patch of heaven. Some of you probably think I am crazy because it is a lot of work but it is rewarding. Each year as the fruits of my labor appear, it take me back to a time when my Mother canned everything she could get her hands on and made jam that we would eat all winter.
In the 1950 and 1960's it was not easy to feed a household of eight. So you learned how to buy, barter or just obtain the extra (or as in my case, grow...) bushels of fruit and produce that you in some way would preserved. I remember sitting at the table licking the spoon of foam that was carefully scraped off the top of the strawberry jam when Mom made it. When we got older, we were recruited to go pick berries with her for her jam making adventures. We were instructed that we could not just pick and eat!
Later in the summer she would buy bushels of fruit. We especially loved that time of the year because we would sneak fruit from the baskets as they waited to be canned. I vividly remember a year where someone ate so many plums that they ended up spending the next day on the toilet. Ops...learned that lesson. That was also the year when Mom figured out that we were snitching from her baskets! Plums were a favorite along with peaches and pears. For years she threw the peach pits and the peels on the same spot in our side yard and before we knew it we had our own peach tree. She did not realize it but all the fruit and vegetable waste she put on that pile made for a perfect place for that peach tree to grow. Mom was not a gardener but she knew how to put thing up for the winter.