"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Apricot Preserves

This morning my friend and I set out to make some apricot jam; a sweet taste of summer to pull out on those cold mornings in December when the snow is flying and one needs to remember the sun. I had made one trip up to the tree and worked up a batch earlier in the week but thought there might be more, since we had all those high winds and pouring rain a couple of days ago.
Alas, we found apricots all over the ground but they were already moldy or rotting.
This reminded me of a story about my mom. It happened when all my children were small and all my gardens were huge (what was I thinking?). The kids and I had picked tomatoes, lots of squash, and the green beans as well. The veggies were in my kitchen, waiting to be worked when my mom called. I explained the situation and she said she would be right over to help and not to start without her.
She came in and suggested we start with the tomatoes. Then she picked up the largest basket of tomatoes, carried it out to the edge of the garden and dumped them out on the ground. She continued until there were only four or five tomatoes left. Then she took all the squash outside and threw them onto the compost heap as well and, while she was out there, pulled up all the squash plants except two. She said you only needed two hills of squash, one for the bugs and one for yourself.
The she called the kids in and we sat around the table and snapped green beans together and cooked up a mess of them for dinner, along with some new potatoes and onions. We enjoyed our time together, the kids helped and I did not have a coronary. This is what she said when she left to drive home,"A garden should be a happy thing, not a stressful one. You control the garden, it does not control you. Remember, your children are more important than a tomato."
My gardens are much smaller now and my children are grown and gone. In my gardens I grow what we can eat and sometimes, if I feel like it, I can some beets or carrots or make some sweet apricot jam. My gardens are my place of prayer, where I can be still and hear the voice of God.

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