Canning Up Peaches

Writers everywhere agree that real life produces the best fodder to nourish our creativity.

The day I wrote about my housekeeping skills, I decided it was time to clean off that countertop (can’t find the dryer now, but that’s beside the point), mop, and sic my kids on their bedroom. I wanted to dust, honest, but something more important came up!

Yesterday, the sun dawned to a brisk fall breeze…don’t you love watching curtains billowing, feeling that almost foreign blast of refreshment after the kind of summer we’ve all had? It set the tone for a wonderful day.

My friend and her 3 children came for lunch and to spend the day playing. As we moms slid pizzas in the oven and covered my counters (you knew there was a reason for all that cleaning, didn’t ya?) with canning supplies, the kids were romping with delight, lost in the spirit of play, best of friends separated too long.

Soon we had them all outside on a queen-sized comforter in the shade~picnic style, enjoying jigglers, fruit, pizza and lemonade. Meanwhile, we moms put off our own “chaw and glutch”, in favor of peeling peach skin and pureeing peach chunks. After we finished the noisy part, toddler went down for her nap and the older kids hopped in the pool.

Having the windows open was magical. It’s hot work, canning, and the children’s laughter floating in on the chill breeze could almost take you back in time…to a dirt floor cabin surrounded by tall pines, with no window panes and only a hide tacked to the doorframe. That fresh, fresh country air. That kinship of women at work.

With the blender turned off (back to the twenty-first century), we carried off a great conversation including but not limited to the progress of friend’s new home (they’re building it themselves), ways to encourage our two beginning readers, planning our upcoming orchard field trip, and brainstorming great things for this year’s Operation Christmas Child boxes.

While the pureed peaches simmered up to 165 degrees, we took a lengthy lunch break, conversation flowing uninterrupted. Eventually 14 quarts of peach lemonade and 4 pints of peach preserves stood pinging on the counter. Clean, dish-towel dried pots and canners were put away, while all other dishes drip-dried precariously in my dish drainer. 6 happy kids played outside with puppies and goats (yes, we have goats again–two nannies and 3 babies). My friend and I got online to research apples (Orchard trip again)…Honey-crisp, Sun Crisp, Macoun, Rome Beauty, Empire, Fuji…mmm, the taste descriptions made our mouths water! And now we know which ones are the best for eating “out of hand”, for pies and for applesauce!

Both our husbands worked late last night, so farewells didn’t need to come till 8 P.M.

And if all goes according to plan, I’ll be seeing her again early next week. She’s got access to some Honey-crisp apples and dairy fresh “peaches and cream” flavored milk! And she’s picking some up for yours truly!

Food and fellowship, they go hand in hand.

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