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Canning season is that wonderful time of year when you never have a moment to yourself - it's all four in the morning mason jar sterilizing, neighbors making coffee in your kitchen before you're even dressed because they have cabbage, too (or carrots or apples or string beans) and you've invited them over with a truck load because you know extra hands make all the difference.

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.
Because someone asked me what I meant when I said "canning season." We don't can like this anymore - this is mostly made up of memories of canning while still living with my dad. I'd like to get back to that way of life, though.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-09-25
Canning Season by ejeans7 overwhelms the senses with the best kind of nostalgia: memories, families, friends, food ( Featured by ShadowedAcolyte )
:iconfrozenwilds:
frozenwilds Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Wonderfully poetic and descriptive.  I have lots of fond memories of helping my grandparents with canning produce from their gardens, and this puts those memories into words far better than I ever could. :+fav:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner 5 days ago   Writer
Aw, thank you! :aww: And I'm glad it brought back memories for you!  There's just something so special about those canning memories. :) (There is for me, anyway. =p )
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:iconcapricecake:
capricecake Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Student Writer
(:

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. :heart:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
You should try it sometime.  There's really nothing quite like it. :heart:
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:iconhiland-rose:
Hiland-Rose Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
You spoke to my heart with this one.. there's a movement "back to the land"  and it's something I'm working toward to a degree... city life has been my lot, but my heart has always drifted out into the country... this year I had a great garden and canned for the first time.. (mostly store bough fruit)  but I felt that connection to my Grandmother's generation where this was normal.  There is something about reviving old traditions... it's part of our humanity....thank you for sharing this.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
I, too, am living in the city these days, and I miss country life like crazy.  I hope you keep gardening and canning, no matter where you wind up. :hug:
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:iconpenthatdoesnotwrite:
PenThatDoesNotWrite Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I swear, I can smell this story. Wonderful work.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you. :)
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:iconjtheq:
JtheQ Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
This reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  I bet you would love it.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
I do love it! :D
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:iconthe-dream-book:
The-Dream-Book Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I really enjoy it! Congratulations on the well deserved DD!Clap 
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you! :)
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
I have to say that this is highly evocative.

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.  :D

Cheers.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
I also do not suggest stumbling out to your kitchen in your pj's to find the neighbors are already making breakfast.  That can be a bit embarrassing! =p

I hope you're still gardening, and that it's going better than it was before. :hug:
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015
As long as there are no holes in the pj's, and the pj's cover the essentials, it passes ... not an ideal situation, to be sure.

Not this year.  I've learned that gardening will take a bit of planning, and a lot of effort, even with a small garden, especially if it hasn't been planned properly.  :D
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner 6 days ago   Writer
:lol:  True, but the planning itself can be fun.  Or maybe I'm just strange... ^^;  I'm taking a break from gardening myself this year, but that's so I can concentrate on establishing a watering system - there's no hose at my place, so any gardening currently requires many trips with a watering can. Exhausting! :faint:
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:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner 6 days ago
You're right, planning can be fun - it definitely gives you something to look forward to doing. :D

My parents' and grandparents' solution to the issue you're presenting is simple.  No watering system?  The children are the watering system!  "Steve, run out and water those plants!"  :XD:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner 6 days ago   Writer
:lmao:  I'll have to start training the cats. =p
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:iconslurring:
Slurring Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is lovely. My grandma enlists my mom and me to help her can tomatoes every year for sauce, and there are so many memories that are all coming back now. Thank you for writing this c:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you for reading it, and taking the time to comment.  I'm glad it brought back good memories for you. :hug:
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Student General Artist
AGH I knowwwww!! :huggle: My mom cans a whole bunch of jams and jellies and fruits every summer and fall, and this year she canned salsa and apples in addition to everything else.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
:huggle:

Hats off to her!  I can never get my jams and jellies to set right. =p
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:icontheweelad:
TheWeeLad Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
the very definition of subtle beauty
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you. :heart:
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:iconkagenokarasu:
KageNoKarasu Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
Ahh, such a sweet memory.
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!
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you! :)

And I'm glad  to hear you gave canning a try!  It can be such a fun activity, despite the work. :)
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:iconc-a-harland:
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Student Writer
You've captured a wonderful sense of nostalgia here. Great work.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thanks. :)
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:iconagonizingswordfish:
AgonizingSwordfish Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Congratulations on the DD! :happybounce:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you! :glomp:
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:iconaristia:
Aristia Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
This is beautiful, it brings back so many memories and you captured it exactly. This especially reminds me of canning peaches and cherries, Freida's kitchen stuffed with chattering women, more sitting in the living room with 12 quart bowls in their laps, pitting cherries as fast as they could. Dish towels under each arm to catch the sweet sticky juice that ran down our arms and soaked the towels.
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.
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Freida's kitchen sounds like a beautiful place. :)  It sounds very familiar, too!  Except for the men part. :lol: Our guys always took an active part in the canning, and even had recipes all their own.  Uncle Dave's pickled peppers and Harv's hot pepper jelly were the best. :)
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:iconenigma90210:
Enigma90210 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Professional Photographer
I like it ! Reminds me of last year lol :) 
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Me too, incidentally. =P  But I'm glad you liked it. :)
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:iconbahamutdeusmodus:
BahamutDeusModus Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
I've never lived on a farm or anything per say (at least not very big, though it was kind of one before I was born) but my grandma still cans green beans and a few other things for winter. We just have a small garden; I can't really imagine what it would be like to live like you wrote above, with so much to can and that' it's essential for winter.
By the way, this was written nicely, too. =)
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you. :)

And it's really not that different from canning in small batches, so long as you have enough help!  The fact that it was essential could be a bit stressful at times, but I do miss it.  I keep only a small garden these days, too.  Urban living just isn't the same...
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:iconbahamutdeusmodus:
BahamutDeusModus Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Professional General Artist
You're welcome! :)

So how big of a garden did you have back then? It must've been pretty big!
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner 5 days ago   Writer
There were three plots total - about an acre, all told.  Plus two apple trees, a couple of plum trees, some blueberry bushes, and a hedge full of raspberries. (The fruit trees were there when we moved in.) And two herb gardens - one culinary, one medicinal.  Plus, we got a lot of things like pears, black walnuts, elderberries, and more apples from people who didn't want theirs.  We had more garden than lawn. ^^; It was kind of crazy, but I miss it! =p
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:iconbahamutdeusmodus:
BahamutDeusModus Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Professional General Artist
Wow, all of that on one acre? That's a ton of food, and quite a variety! :la:
Right now, my family seems to be increasing our homegrown food at home. We have a lot of blueberry bushes,red and black raspberries, young apple trees and plum trees, a couple big cherry trees, and then we have a vegetable garden (with a few herbs planted in it). Oh, and we do have a butternut tree and a couple black walnut trees!
Though, the only thing we ever canned that was homegrown were greenbeans (at least that's what I remember at the moment).
Sometimes it's a lot of work, taking care of all this stuff; I can see why it was pretty crazy for you for a while! :giggle:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner 4 days ago   Writer
You have a butternut tree?! :wow:  Okay, I'm officially jealous.  I haven't had butternuts in years!  My grandmother had a tree, but it got struck by lightening one year. :(  My dad spent the next fifteen years trying to grow another one, in his brother's honor (It had been his favorite tree, and he died young - just weeks after his 50th birthday, out of the blue.), but none that he planted would grow.  It was the strangest thing...

Sounds like you've got quite the variety yourself!  And I love canned green beans, especially dilly beans.  Mom always kept an herb garden, and she was always looking for ways to use herbs in our cooking and canning.  If you haven't tried dilly beans, you really need to. =p They're so good! :hungry:
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:iconbahamutdeusmodus:
BahamutDeusModus Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Professional General Artist
Wow really? This butternut tree has been here for years, ever since I can remember. Not sure if my grandparents planted it or if it just grew here though; now I'll have to ask them! We get a ton of butternuts falling off it every year, but I've never seen another tree grow; maybe they're just hard to grow? Sad that your grandmother lost hers, they're also very beautiful trees. In fact I think they're possibly my favorite as far as how they look.

Oooh, dilly beans? I don't think I've ever tried them, but I love dill! I'll have to keep an eye out for some now!
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner 2 days ago   Writer
You can find the recipe for them on pretty much any canning site, but finding them for sale might be difficult.  If there's a good farmer's market nearby, that'd probably be your best bet. :)

And they are beautiful trees.  They're definitely one of my favorites, too, but that might just be because of everything my dad went through trying to grow them.  They seem magical and mysterious somehow now. ^^;
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:iconkenyastarflight:
kenyastarflight Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Ironic that I should find this in the DDs when we've just spent the last two nights canning almost two hundred pounds of pears.  :giggle:

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!  :w00t:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you! :)  I'm glad it brought back some fond memories for you. :heart:

But...  Two hundred pounds of pears?! :wow:  I'm afraid to ask how you wound up with so many! =p

Canned meat doesn't sound so strange, either - we always had canned venison around at our house.  I actually miss it!
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
I’m very happy for you!!! :iconloveloveplz: :tighthug:
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thank you! Love I'm just sorry I wasn't here for it! :lol:  Such a busy year last year, I completely forgot to log in to check anything!  My bad! ^^;
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:iconapoemhowsweet:
apoemhowsweet Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014   Writer
this is the most cosy and wholesome piece of literature that i've ever loved on here aha. 
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Aww.  Thank you!  I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
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:iconrobson666:
robson666 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist
congrats on the DD
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:iconejeans7:
ejeans7 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015   Writer
Thanks. :)
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