In A Jam - Home on the Range Blog at - 199110

Home on the Range

In A Jam 
Oct. 8, 2010 5:17 am 
Updated: Oct. 15, 2010 6:55 pm

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?”

Strawberries, anyone?
Oct. 8, 2010 6:07 am
I'm glad you're back Petey! You are such a kind soul, not sure I would have been so nice to those dragging apricots to my door. Hope you told the "hulk of a man" to sit right down and peel and pit those apricots before you did all the work. I will be thinking this winter about you eating your apricot jam.
Oct. 8, 2010 8:16 am
you are a peach for aiding in the jam "process" I know it will taste good this winter on toast mmmmmmm
Oct. 8, 2010 8:17 am
BTW, how many pints of jam did the hunk of man get? Inquiring minds need to know....oops meant hulk of a man:D
Oct. 8, 2010 9:00 am
thanks guys, you are too kind. There isn't a whole lot I can do for other people. Hulk got 10 qts as 2 jars were chipped He is a widower, so he appreciates stuff like that a lot.
Oct. 8, 2010 9:57 am
10 quarts? he will be eating apricots on everything this year. Should find him some apricot preserve recipes...
Oct. 8, 2010 9:58 am ..this looks good and what bachelor doesn't like ham or pork in general
Oct. 8, 2010 10:02 am
or tell him to bring back some of his jam and you can whip these up for him while he does some of your chores-maybe breaking a new milk cow could be awarded with somthing nice:)...
Oct. 8, 2010 10:12 am
Oct. 8, 2010 10:13 am
Good blog Petey - I sure wish I had some of that jam! This cranberry - apricot sauce is delicious. Thanks for a good read.
Oct. 8, 2010 10:48 am
thanks for the guys! I will use them myself! :)
Oct. 11, 2010 5:50 am
I laughed until I cried! Fabulous blog. Great read. Thanks for sharing a very touching story!!!
Oct. 11, 2010 12:09 pm
hehehe I bet next year you're going to have the biggest hankering for Apricots but you'll be up to your eyeballs in tomatoes! :P
Oct. 11, 2010 5:28 pm
Loved this story! Reminds me of a dear 80 year old man who brought me several boxes of crab apples, to turn into jelly and the most delish butter, this summer. I have been selling it at the local farmer's market, all he asked for in return was for me to make him some jelly for him to share with his family this Christmas! He's providing all the jars, sugar, etc! What a Blessing!
Oct. 11, 2010 8:54 pm
Hmmmmmmm, Was down by Gilcrest last week hunting with hubs. If I'd known you were working on Apricots, I'd have come right on over to get, um, I mean help. Great blog Petey. You are kind to others. Thanks for the inspiring blog.
Oct. 11, 2010 11:15 pm
Oooh, you learned to count with my niece, she knew just how many sixty eleven squash make. Isn't it odd how every year one crop seems to go beserk. I wonder if you can think of a way to use the squash and apricot jam together. It is so great to read about your life on the ranch.
Oct. 12, 2010 12:09 pm
I love apricots and think that God must have kissed them twice because they are even better than the peach...I see you don't share in my affection.LOL! Good to see you back here, though I am not around here much lately. Ricky husband is down and I'm busy doing everything and nothing, at the same time, it seems!
Oct. 12, 2010 11:26 pm
Oh, I laughed right out loud. Thanks! I missed the apricots this year but it looks like you made enough jam for both of us.
Oct. 13, 2010 12:58 am
Wow your blogs are so much fun to read! Sounds like a great time especially for the kids!
Oct. 13, 2010 8:47 am
Love this story:)
Oct. 13, 2010 3:40 pm
Hi-- I am the oldest of seven kids, and hey, listen, several PINTS of veggies????!!! This year we did 27 quarts of peaches, 15 quarts of pears, 7 frozen apple pies, 6 bags of frozen applesauce, 45 quarts of canned meat, 6 bags of frozen pears, 8 bags of frozen peaches, 27 jars of canned peach jam, and 15 jars of canned crab apple jelly! It was a lot of work, but we got it just wanted to let you know it can get a lot harder than several pints. I like your blog, though. Thanks, M.K.M
Oct. 13, 2010 3:43 pm
Ok, sorry if I sounded rude on my review, I guess I missed that last sentence about the hulk guy somehow. Sorry!
Oct. 13, 2010 5:49 pm
Petey, you give many people JOY- most people can't say that. Thank you for the stories- absolutely precious. Those kids will never forget it!
Oct. 13, 2010 8:52 pm
Mykaela, I envy you the canning you got done! My garden failed this year, so we had little enough done...until the apricots came and blessed us LOL
Oct. 14, 2010 12:28 am
petey, your adventures bring back memories of my five year stretch ...uhm, I mean time under the tutelage of an experienced country gardener/canner extraordinaire. Seems a lifetime ago, but oh my, the memories do come flooding back. Blessings on you and yours.
Oct. 14, 2010 1:09 am
thanks hezzie! I also noticed you have visited my other has moved in case you didnt know. its now at thanks for your time!
Oct. 15, 2010 8:41 am
Really enjoyed reading about your life in a ranch. I'm a Malaysian and my life in a tropical city is just so diffrent from yours. Thanks for sharing! God bless!
Oct. 15, 2010 4:19 pm
Oh, how envious I am. At the moment there are no fresh apricots in Bermuda (where I live). Fresh fruit is expensive and rarely used for baking; for example navel oranges, on sale this week , are $0.69 each, reduced from $1>19. Pears are @1.29 each. So I haven't made jam in years. Maybe I could come and help make jam, in exchange fro a few jars- apricot is my favourite!
Oct. 15, 2010 6:55 pm
I appreciate all your comments! Thanks for letting me know you stopped by!
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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