Old Friends

We are in the midst of the canning season now. The green beans are all done and the tomatoes have come on by the bushel. It seems to take a little while to get into the rhythm of canning each year, but as I begin, I get to see all my old friends. First there are the huge aluminum pans that Tim and I bought years ago at a farm auction. Each one holds a half bushel and they are perfect for taking to the garden to pick in and for scalding tomatoes and for holding the scraps that go to the chicken coop. They are a little beat up and bent but I don't know how I ever got along without them. Then there is the giant big heavy black pot that if I fill it all the way to the top, I can get 12 quarts out of it. We found it at a flea market one morning. It doesn't have a lid and it has a ding in the side, but it has such a heavy bottom in it, you don't have to worry about things burning. I only paid a dollar for it and it has been well worth that dollar. Then there is my funnel. I bought it at a farm auction also. It is bent and has seen years of use. But it seems to have so much more character than a new one. I can't forget my big water bath canner. That canner and I have canned hundreds of jars together. And then there are my jars. Most of them were bought at flea markets and yard sales. They have been used over and over through the years and still look like new. I love my Strong Shouldered Atlas jars. Who knows how old they are and yet they still do the job perfectly. I like to think about all the things that have been canned in them and wonder, before they came to me, what was in them.  As I am writing this, a batch of chili tomatoes are bubbling away in the water bath. I love to open a jar of them when the snow is 2 feet deep and smell the wonderful spices that have been stewing away in the pantry all winter. They make a new batch of chili taste like it's 2 days old, just when it's starting to get good. Next will be salsa and then on to stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, ketchup and then the peppers start... But with each plink, as the lid seals itself on the kitchen counter, I am reminded how blessed we are to have a garden and to have a farm that we can live off of. God has so richly blessed our farm, I will never take that for granted. Hope you are busy canning in your neck of the woods.....Gotta go, the timers going off. Time to take out the jars....


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