Summer was cool up here this year. Too cool for tomatoes and peppers to do much good, so my plans for canning all of our tomato products this summer were…well…canned.
An abundance of corn and sixty-eleven tons of squash took the edge off of the disappointment however. I got some corn canned, thanks to my sister in law and our niece, then the birds
stole the rest of it. The green beans actually did so well, I found myself out there trying to kill them off with a shovel, just to get a break. So there is corn and beans on the pantry shelves and squash in the freezer.
I had a hankering for apricot jam, and the boss’ tree had a bumper crop this year, so the lovely #5 (the boss’ youngest of 5 kids) brought two huge bucket loads. My visiting mother-in-law
and I washed, picked and pitted until our arms hurt. We got several pints canned and I was glad to be done with it, thinking maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing the tomatoes failed. It doesn’t take long to burn out on making jam.
Next day the folks returned to California and I was back to re-organizing and resuming my regular non-routine, when there was a knock at the door. This time#5 and her sister, #3C(triplets,
2 boys, 1 girl), stood with the biggest basket of apricots I have ever seen. It would have nearly filled up the bed of our truck.
“We wanted to come and make jam with you!”
Considering how much I did NOT want to make jam, but how much I DO enjoy time with #1-#5, I threw my non-routine out the window for the day. We rounded up 35 lb of sugar, innumerable
boxes of pectin and requisitioned every pint, jelly jar and freezer container on the ranch. We quickly fell into an assembly line, of washing, pitting, pureeing, measuring, boiling, stirring, marking, laughing and pouring. After a full and fabulous day, there
were not many apricots left in the bottom of the basket. We usually spend our time together riding and moving cows. We haven’t done a lot of cooking together, as they cook more with their mom...but, being a neat lady, she also knows I miss my own kids and
grandkids so she lets em come down, whenever they have an urge. Besides, she doesn’t make jam.She’s got everything else covered, I think, but not jam.
WE still had a lot left and I thought about feeding them to the chickens, as I was already having nightmares about apricots, and I was still awake. They told me they would put the little
that was left in the walk-in, just in case I wanted to make more. I determined to spend the rest of my year apricot free.
Having already exceeded my mileage for the day, I drug myself outside, fed the critters, started dinner, and finally sat down. There was another knock on the door.
A hulk of a man, whom the boss hires for a month every year, to do carpentry and repairs on the ranch, stood before me holding a large sack of sugar, a bag full of pectin, a case of
QUART jars, and a huge bucket of apricots at his feet.
“I just love apricot jam! I hear you make some, and I was wondering if you could fill these for me?”