Canning is so much easier with a helper. Even if that helper is only peeling the peaches, help is help and it's.... helpful. I'm glad to be getting to that point. I can remember helping my Mom can countless jars of peaches and it got to be such a drag sometimes, but we worked together and got it done and it was satisfying. Jonah is learning that, too, and I love watching his work ethic develop.
I praise Evan for his "help", too, and sometimes Jonah resents this. "He's not helping! He's making a mess!" So I put my hand by my mouth and whisper and make it seem like a great secret: "We'll just tell him he's helping, and let him think that. That's how he learns. Someday he'll help for real. For now, he's just learning."
Today was a very hot day for canning peaches. It seems to go that way. Just when I think I can close up the house and try to keep it relatively coolish, a bushel of peaches shows up and needs attention now. I paid more for these peaches than I have the last few years (significantly more, actually), but I have to say, you get what you pay for. I have dealt with cling-stone peaches and cling-peel peaches and hard peaches and overripe peaches. These peaches were so perfect I could swoon. Large, sweet, juicy, perfectly ripe, easy to peel and pit and can. It makes the work go so much easier. I got half of them done, canned up in 14 quarts, which became 13 when a jar broke, raffamuffaschniggafrigga. Arg. Why does that always happen? Anyway, the rest are finishing ripening and some will be frozen and some dehydrated and then I can decide if I want to do another bushel. I mean, I already know I want to, just not sure if I have it in me.
I am definitely struggling with how I will get my summer work done this year. I've always thought that fall would be the worst time to have a baby, and I was right. (Note to self: future babies in spring only. Ha. As if I can decide that. It's fun to pretend.)
It's just hard...
...to deal with the heat and humidity (stifling!), which normally doesn't really bother me, but now... ugh.
...to work through relentless back pain and increasing loss of mobility.
...to have enough energy to even get through half my to-do list for a day.
...to keep up with my little boys and have enough patience and love when I am just tired.
I know it keeps me from having pride (well, in theory, right?) and makes me look to God for provision, instead of myself. I can thank God for every little energy spurt, every task accomplished, because I know how precious it is.
I'm thankful for the little break in garden work while things are growing and not needing much attention. I can go out and putter for a while --watering here, pulling weeds there-- and then I'm just done. That will soon be past as soon as the beans and cabbages are ready for picking, followed by cukes and tomatoes and peppers. Then the work begins anew, and I'm a little daunted by it this year. Last summer was tough, too. We'll see how this harvest season goes. Don't even get me started on the cold storage crops, which will all need digging right when the baby is due. I think Nathan will get tagged with that work this year.
And it would sure help to have a little rain around here! It seems like this happens every year (well, at least the last few)-- we get non-stop rain all spring, then it suddenly dries up, we plant, and get... no water. It's dry, dry, dry. We have all the heat, humidity from nearby rainstorms, hard-packed clay soil that no late-planted seeds can push through, but no rain. And our particular section of the county is the driest, it seems. That rainstorm I wrote about in my last post hit pretty hard north of us, but my little slice of paradise hardly got a thing. We have some weird weather inversion thingy that makes all the storms skirt us to the north or south, but not actually hit us. With a well that can't run a sprinkler, we're stuck with whatever hand-watering we can manage.
And as long as I'm complaining (indulge me, please...), why do we have to eat so many times per day? Can't we just have breakfast and be good to go for the day? It's too hot and I am too tired to cook supper. Even cold food requires cooking. Sandwiches are not an option because I can't eat bread. I am out of ideas for feeding us. Watermelon and popcorn, anyone?
Okay, end of complaints. Life is beautiful. Sometimes.
I'm off to pop some popcorn and slice up a little watermelon.