Thursday, July 29, 2010


Well, Lughnasadh is Saturday, the celebration of the harvest, specifically grain, and we are definitely harvesting here in zone 4 Iowa. The sweet corn crop is in, and it's divine. My mother was coming for a 2 day stay to help with a child care need and she brought a whole bushel (65 ears) of the sweet gold. The two of us spent most of the day yesterday shucking, shelling and canning pint jars of corn. Rowen helped too of course, but he was much more interested in playing with the silks. Mom prefers to freeze her stash, which she did last week, so most of the canned stuff will go to my stores but some will be given as return gifts to our southern relatives who happily send us jars of their excess beans. The best part is they think we're spoiling them by sending down corn. :-) We ate corn on the cob for dinner last night and probably will again tonight. Mmmmmm... :-)

As much as I enjoy living on my own, I do love having my mother around. It reminds me of the living arrangements in India (and other countries), where elders live with the younger generation and help with food and child care. It reminds me of my childhood and having breakfast with Mom before starting my day. It eases the loneliness of living in a new town that's both smaller and more rural than I'm used to. For her part I'm hoping she's enjoying the grandbaby time and vacation from her day-to-day routine. The visit is all that and more and, as with the best things, greater than the sum of it's parts.

The best thing about canning, in my opinion, is that it almost forces you to do a lot of something. It is possible to can a half dozen ears really quick in one batch, but if you're going to be at the corn stand, shucking, shelling and messing around with the jar stash, it's definitely worth your time to do more than one canner load. Which equates to a large deposit into the pantry. Going to the store to buy 40 cans of corn might get you looked at funny, and depending on the quality might set you back 30-40 bucks. The whole bushel of corn from the farm truck was 22$. Lids are maybe another 2$. Less than 25$ all said (plus some time and sweat) and I have 21 pint jars of top quality sweet corn.
It's almost time to do the same with green beans. :-D I didn't have space this year to plant a large enough patch of green beans to can, so I'll have to get them from the farmers market this Saturday. No hardship there, even the small market we have in our new town has some excellent choices for staples like green beans.

I also love how canning connects me closer to the wheel of the year. Even in high summer I've got an eye on winter's cold, and in deepest winter the jars of summer goodness help me remember that spring will come again.

So this weekend I hope to light a bonfire and reflect for a moment on the bounty around me. For I am blessed in family, blessed in health and blessed with lots to can. So, perhaps only a small moment of reflection, as there's much to do!

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