Since I’ve been married I’ve dreamed of being sort of a “part-time pioneer woman” – a woman who works 9-5, but also keeps a home and utilizes local farm grown produce when she can. Even going so far as to “can” or “put up” food supplies. Armed with a bushel of Roma tomatoes (envision 2 copy paper boxes full of pretty small tomatoes), that a friend had grown on her land, I decided I would “put up” spaghetti sauce. I’ve done it with smaller batches of tomatoes each time I wanted to have spaghetti and I figured it would be “easier” to have the sauce already made and on hand.
I’ve done well so far working towards this “pioneer woman” goal. We have a grape arbor and have made some terrific grape jelly the last 4 years. People BEG me for my grape jelly. I “put up” tomatoes last year, which was hard, but it was worth it to have tomatoes – fresh tomatoes – throughout the year. (And from whence I was making my sauce.)
I, perhaps, got a swelled head.
John had a 10K run so I would be on my own for a couple of hours, but I could get things started and he’d be back in no time. I dug in with vigor. I created a system of sorting and cutting up the tomatoes, while simultaneously cutting up onions and garlic. AND having two pots on the stove hot and ready to go as soon as I had enough ingredients cut up. It was a beautiful assembly line of canning heaven.
I started at 8am.
By 11am I was begging for mercy and I was only 1/3 of my way through the tomatoes. I was surrounded by tomatoes, onions, garlic and steam. Sweat poured down my neck and I had no end in sight. My two pots demanded my attention to keep stirring and ensure nothing burnt. I had no time between cutting, chopping, blending and sorting to even go to the bathroom. Doing this alone had been a mistake. How did those pioneer woman do this? (Author’s note: Pretty sure that’s why they had kids…)
The kitchen was starting to put off enough heat to compete with the August heat outside the door. And my feet began to ache – my day job is sitting behind a desk. I wasn’t built to stand all day in the kitchen. What had I been thinking? (And where we my kids to help! Oh… right, I didn’t have any.)
John texted that he was on his way home. I praised Jesus for the help that was on the way.
Over the next several hours my feet got some much needed relief as John took his turn at chopping, sorting and stirring. I praised God for my helpmate as more and more jars got filled at a more rapid (and yet relaxing for me) pace.
By 3pm (that’s right kids – 7 HOURS later) I put my last lid on the last jar and collapsed into the shower. I never wanted to smell spaghetti sauce or cut another clove of garlic again.
When I emerged – slightly fresher in many aspects – I gazed over the 20 (that’s right 20) jars of sauce with pride. The steam slowly dissipated and the smell will soon be gone too. I filled my shelves in the basement with my newly made product – like my ancestors before me. I had achieved part of my “part-time pioneer woman” goal. And when we had calzones the next day, with my freshly made (and delicious) sauce, I savored every bite.
Yep, I’d do it again.