Yes everyone, I finally did it. I jumped the hurdle and had my first canning session. It was like a first date I was so excited and nervous. The strict need for sanitation, the ratios of berries to sugar, the genealogical pressure from all my forbears who did this on a regular basis as if it were imperative or something. As if my great grandmother Alice were looking at me, at my cush life, saying, "tsk, tsk, tsk, not like your doing this over a fire young lady." Attempting to make a strawberry jam, I instead made a mediocre strawberry liquid somewhat resembling syrup but not really. Around 20+ pints of it. [Note to self: invest in some pectin] We're actually going to do a second round of strawberry jam this weekend, after I swore off canning forever Sunday evening after the all day event. Why you ask?
We picked berries on Tuesday this week (after two days of rain) and it was pitiful. Maybe a third of our regular harvest? Trudging through the rows (have we mentioned picking strawberries is one of the least favorite tasks of the season?), having to throw out SO SO many bad berries, berries not even good enough for jam....a little demoralizing. A little like farmer torture. There are so many jam berries I can't stand to see them go to waste, so jam will be made! And it feels really good to open the pantry and see jars of goodness waiting like little rays of sunshine, sweet like a smile from Ruth.
Speaking of farmer torture, there was more of that this week. We had a brush with a frost on Monday and Tuesday night. We had to cover our tomatoes out in the field. It took most of the day Monday in the cold, wet wind. We ran around like fools, Stuart and me, Adam and Emily, trying to keep the babies safe. Cinderblock madness, remay whipping us in the faces, sloshing around in the mucky aisles. We had some good laughs at the things we must do for our crops, a few jokes about $20 lb. tomatoes and the things we would say to customers who say our produce is too expensive and walk away. Adam had a good idea to do a time lapse on all the work that goes into one of our crops. Maybe one day. Other farmer torture is that we desperately need to hill up our potatoes but the soil is too wet. Best looking crop we've ever had and we have to sit and watch them get taller and taller in the wet soil, knowing that they would probably double their yield if they were hilled once or twice more. Oh the petty tortures we face. We know our life is good, I jest.