I'm coming off a week unprecedented for preserving in this house. In fact, I don't think I've ever had so many jars of applesauce sitting in my basement before the end of August. Yes, there has been drying, freezing, pickling, and canning of all types and stripes here. The pace has been frenetic, the days long and the nights short.
There were some high moments...the first sip of the first apple juice I've ever canned...having enough carrots for freezing and dehydrating...the surprise that I could make apple sauce and apple juice at the same time (thanks to the Mehu-Liisa juicer we discovered this winter)...knowing we have more than enough pickles for the pickle-monsters that live here.
There were some low moments. Moments where I found myself sucked into a bewilderment of why I was doing what I was doing. Moments where I was left wondering if I would go from loving food to hating it passionately. Moments of frustration as I considered the homesteading and pioneering families of the past who would knock off (I perceive) a zillion things more than me, and I tried to figure out what their secret was - what did they know that I didn't about doing this work quickly and well? Moments when I wondered whether anyone living here cared about the work I was doing, as they complained about the marinara sauce I had made last year.
And maybe they have a point. After all, it's not as though we need to grow and preserve our food for survival. Grocery stores are plentiful in our beautiful neighbourhood. Surely it would be easier on our time if we simply went grocery shopping for an hour or two a week. I'm sure we could find a balance between conventionally grown and organically grown food that we could afford. As my family reminded me over pasta with marinara sauce, does it really taste any better? Lastly, I must admit that I don't feel I've seen as much of my kids. That makes my heart feel sad.
I think what I'm confronted with is a week where we've been out of balance. My thoughts have been focussed on the tasks that need to be done and the schedule limitations I'm faced with. I've done my best to ensure that my children are out and about but I admit that I haven't been present, whether in body or in spirit. Little rest has led to a tired and irritable mama. I keep sensing that demonstrating the values I aspire to live can be powerful, and my actions of late have focused on treading lightly on the earth by growing and putting up our own food. My family is involved either on the periphery or directly, such as when we pick apples together. But that "fun" factor has been missing.
So, yet again, I turn to the calendar. I'll do what I can to carve out time and space for us to enjoy one another's company, whether it be a walk in the park or a game of cards. I'll patiently remind the little ones here that how we spend our sacred time together is a choice we make together...we all need to work together to spend our time the way our heart truly desires. I'll be forgiving of myself if I can't do it all or do everything that I had so hoped to do. I'll be thankful for the bounty that the Earth has provided for us and share what we cannot use ourselves.
Ahhh...that feels better.