After our tomatoes ended, I convinced myself I was almost through. I mean, school was starting in a week. What more could I be expected to do?
Then (just on Monday) a friend called and offered me her surplus of tomatoes. Then our pears started falling off the tree and needed picking. Then our neighbor's concord grapes ripened and started calling me from across the way, "Silly neighbor la-dy! We're waiting for you to pick us and turn us into ja-am!" And so, it all began again. The mega-clutter, the heat, the steam, the slop on the floor and the counter, the frazzled hair and mind and all the other symptoms returned with a vengeance.
In the midst of it all, I learned two very important things (note I'm learning these things at the very end of the canning season. Brilliant.).
One, my kids are old enough to actually be helpful. Praise. The. Lord. They chopped their little hearts out. And, two, while goggles are effective, so is setting up a fan right beside you while chopping onions so that the air is blown outside. I couldn't believe how great this worked. Forget cutting them under water or whatever other tricks you may have heard. The fan moves that hot air outside along with all the tear-jerking onion vapor. Let's praise the Lord again, shall we?!
Once the pears are dealt with, the only major thing left to preserve will be applesauce, but we don't do that until October.
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So, I'm off to put my canner and large pot on their shelves in the pantry. The bags of jar rings will be hung on their hooks and the full jars themselves snuggled into place. The food mill, funnels, and other gadgets will be nestled into their boxes and drawers. I may actually find my kitchen under everything just in time to hang up my canning cap and put on my school one. Picture Mr. Rogers changing shoes.
(Just kidding, I don't wear hats.)