It's the time of year when the kitchen is never comfortable - if the water's not on to boil, the oven is warming and full of jars, or the space around the table is all buckets and elbows, paring knives, sweaty brows and chatter.
There is never silence - even in that ten minutes of processing time, when everything stops long enough for a hurried dinner, there's the water-bath-bubbling, jar-rattling rumble of the canner, or the joyous gunshot snapping of the lids as each jar seals.
Those days are filled with wood smoke, steam and the smell of apple butter reducing in the large copper kettle that once lived with your great-grandparents on a family farm that's still drowning under twenty feet of water because a dam was built in that valley when your father was half your age.
It is memories.
It is heaven sitting at a picnic table, immersed in joy and tired.
It's knowing you could never bottle enough of this, but at least you will have food to see you through another winter.
thanks for sharing the experience. i've never canned... but i've always sensed it's just as special to those who do as you've described it.
I know what "canning season" means, even if I'm not entirely sure when it is. My grandparents, and my mom, used to can tomatoes. And, for 3 years now, I've been trying to get a garden in that gives me enough vegetables to can. So far, it's been a failure for one reason or other. That said, you've described an ideal situation, one which I'd love to enact (except for the 4am bit, since that is a bit early) at my own residence.
The last line, though, is great.
I've canned for the first time evar! this summer and I still have more pickles to do (the cukes just won't stop producing D: )
If all else fails I have plenty of apple jam and cukes to live off of. Lol
That said, I enjoyed this poem and can totally understand it!
Funny thing, the men always got scarce around the house during canning season! It's hard work and they knew we'd put 'em to work if they got under foot.
By the way, this was written nicely, too.
My family has been canning since I was little, and while not all my memories match up to this lovely bit of prose, you hit enough of the points dead-on that this evokes fond memories, both recent and long-past, for me. I have fond memories of canning everything from applesauce to tomatoes to green beans to chicken (yes, we sometimes even can meat) while talking, singing, or having a movie playing in the background. Fun times.
Thank you for this thoughtful little piece, and congrats on the DD!
What a wonderful story. I've been in that situation, too, canning tomatoes and their products mainly, but also peaches and jams of all sorts. Congratulations on the DLD "Pick of the Day"! You can't can that either, but it will go in many faves and be preserved that way.