When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.
We head to the garden to water after supper.
I’m tired, having spent most of the day on my feet in the kitchen canning tomato soup. It’s a simple process, but it seems to take so long by the time I chop all the tomatoes; retrieve bulbs of garlic from the lower patio and trim, clean, and peel them; chop basil; combine and cook; then fill and process a batch of jars. And repeat.
No complaints, it’s work I enjoy.
Canning is solitary work—at least that’s the way it is around here. That’s the way I prefer it. Aside from the fact that using the pressure canner requires a good measure of attention, I appreciate the opportunity to plan, organize, and execute the steps from washing produce to hearing the satisfying ping of the lids of full jars lined up like soldiers on the countertop.
The quiet work of canning is also a time of reflection and prayer. I’m, for certain, not going to turn down a full day of that. It’s also a time when inspiration dances, and seeds of ideas for writing and other projects are sown. All of this, plus I end up with beautiful jars full of food that will feed us well through the dark months.
And so, with my countertop covered in cooling jars of tomato soup, having enjoyed a light supper of garden salad and salmon I canned last summer, we head out. According to the thermometer in the car it’s still 40C / 104F; records have been broken on this, the hottest day of the summer.
It’s beautiful in the shade of the garden. I walk around surveying everything while Gerry heads to the back to check out the newly installed signage. The heat has done its magic and there are two big and fat Black Krim tomatoes ripe for picking—the first of the season.
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This morning I pad to the kitchen early to start bread. In the silence, as I mix dough with my hands, my eyes fall on the two tomatoes sitting on the counter. Later, we will enjoy slices of them on warm-from-the-oven bread. Summer’s finest.
My countertop is covered with an army-in-formation of full canning jars. Soon, I’ll test seals, wash and label them, and carry them downstairs where they’ll take their place next to other jars. For now, I set the bowl of bread dough aside to rise, flick on the coffeemaker, and head back to bed to read and write.
The garden is producing, the freezer and canning shelves are filling again, and we are blessed.
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