Beautiful Day

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Peach of a Problem

So, maybe it wasn't so much of a problem.  Having daughters who care passionately about good and healthy (and yes, even beautiful!) food as much as I do sometimes gets us in trouble.  Not only that, but who can resist the call to venture outdoors to a local berry farm or orchard with that big "U-pick" sign?  Noticing that it is peach season, the children were eager to procure some.  I admit that sometimes it is challenging for me not to view it as a lot of work ahead.  For one knows that picking berries, peaches, apples or vegetables means one must take care of them rapidly so as not to lose any of that hard-earned money or time.  Fortunately I have one dear Country Girl who loves to can and preserve and she helps me out a ton!

So here's the dilemma...One huge peach orchard with a bumper crop, several very eager pickers, one toddler traipsing through the windfall peaches (and wearing them on his clothes and shoes), and one Mama testing which varieties of peach taste the best.  For the orchardist generously offered us to taste a few peaches knowing that her crop was abundant and that we wouldn't damage her profits by sampling.  I wish I had pictures of how quickly all the children grabbed their sample peach and devoured it!  Oh, there is nothing like peaches fresh from the orchard!  So, in the span of about 20 minutes I suddenly found that all of our boxes were approaching full and I was going to have to give the "stop" command, and I had not even picked a single peach myself!  Not too bad of a problem, really.  What IS a problem, is trying to get said children/pickers to stop picking.  Because peaches are just so FUN to pick!! They are easy, they are at child-level on the trees, they are big and they accumulate quickly!  And before we knew it we had over 100 pounds of peaches!!  Oh MY!  I began to wonder how we would take care of them all in a crazy busy week already. 

We brought home 3 heaping boxes this size and then some!

We brought them home (along with about 15 lbs of pickling cucumbers) and got to work.  Fortunately the weather was cooler, which added to the pleasure both of picking and of canning.  We decided to tackle the pickles first because they are easy!  After that, it was a long afternoon of preparing peaches---for canning, freezing, and drying.  I didn't take nearly enough pictures, of course.  I will honestly tell you that I briefly considered calling some friends to ask if they wanted to buy some of the peaches!  I really questioned whether we could get all of these peaches put up.  But we did it, I tell you.  By working TOGETHER.  Which made it all delightful.

In the past couple of weeks we have enjoyed and made fresh peaches, lots of peach smoothies (with whip cream on top, of course), dried peaches, canned peaches, peach salsa, peach syrup, my mother's and grandmother's peach cobbler recipe (which we just love!), and peach ice cream.  And we are still eating them having put some aside to keep in the refrigerator to last just a little while.

We took a little side trip last week to a historic park in our state as we were pacing our day trip between visiting my dear almost-94-year-old grandmother and our last Bible Bee "Hive" Celebration.  It was a last-minute inspiration, but oh, SO enjoyable.  It is located in such a beautiful area with so many lovely farms.  This park was in what used to be an 1860's town.  As we learned of its history, I was well-reminded of how many people came to this area because of how things grow here.  It really was viewed as an Eden of sorts (aside from the rain, I'm sure!).  It reminds me of how grateful I am for God's abundant blessings from the earth that we so often enjoy and can sometimes take for granted.

And as we continue to enjoy the bounty of gardens and local produce, I really do revel in setting a meal at my table that consists almost entirely of things grown in our own garden or in ones near us.  It is one of the greatest joys of summer.

So, my initial "problem" really proved to be only a pathway to great memories and blessing.  How nice to see these on our shelves and be reminded of how abundantly He has provided for us.

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