Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Season to Hibernate

Ball jars lined the table. Vegetables sat in the old dented kettle waiting their turn. Pickles were pickled. Tomatoes blanched and peeled. Summer was being squirreled away for a season.

A ritual handed down over the generations was once more happening in the kitchen back the lane. Mom labored over the stove damp with the heat of it. The kitchen smelled of vegetables. Peels and stems were tossed into the pot that would be emptied in the barnyard for the chickens and sheep to eat. The garden was naked once more of her summer garb.

My sister, Peg, and I never liked to be sent to the basement for something from the fruit room. We knew that once in awhile a mouse would find its way onto one of the shelves nibbling through a box. A mouse that crept into the old house, a house unable to keep them at bay.

I don't remember helping with the canning, but I do remember the smells and sights. The old enamel canner, rings and lids. The filled jars cooling in the garage. Once more the shelves in the fruit room would be filled and the garden would hibernate until awakened in the spring.

A cool summer day reminds the farm girl of another time.

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