The Therapy of Homemaking

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2018
I just never pictured it. I never thought I would be the canning and homemade type of gal. 
Then we moved into a house with plum trees and my mother in law said "we should make jam with these". REALLY?? You can do that? I honestly never even knew you could. 
But we jumped in and she taught me the loving art of making jam. Wouldn't you know? I really love it. There is something so earthy and wholesome to take fruit off the tree in my front yard and turn it into something my family can enjoy all year long. 
Little trivia here - Shawn grew up with all this homemade fare, so he didn't even know you could buy jam in stores until we got married. I still feel a little sad that I was the one to break that to him. 
Anywhooo, here is the process: 

 From tree to jar in a few short hours. It is so, so yummy. 
So then I decided to branch out to pear jam, blueberry jam and salsa. 
The other jams were just about the same as the plum jam. Except this year I made pear syrup due to a non-setting batch of jam, but it still tastes good and we are finding all sorts of ways to make pear syrup usable. 
Salsa was another story. This required a bit more thought since I am pretty sure rotten tomatoes can kill you. 
So my friend Jacqueline came over last year and showed me the ropes. Once again, in a few short hours, I had enough salsa to fill our cupboard for a year. I am totally hooked. 
 Here the the famous family recipe: 
Don't you just love a paper copy of a recipe with scribbling all over it?? 
Since the process is so colorful, we might as well appreciate the beauty of the steps: 
 Here is the biggest stock pot known to mankind:
Right now, in my very kitchen, I have a whole shelf of jars filled with things that I made with my own two hands:
Please allow me to tell you what this process does for me...
I work with people. People have complicated issues and they often go unresolved for days, weeks, even years. If you are a "check the boxes to feel like you have completed something" kind of a person, working with people will leave you feeling like you never finish anything. As soon as you climb through one issue, there will be another and another after that. 
I am also a parent. The tricky thing about parenting is that while you may have some guesses that what you are doing is working, you will never really know if you did a good job until your entire household has come of age and gone on to be functioning citizens in the greater community. 
The net result of both of these roles is a mixture of very satisfying, but unresolved work. It is a lot of hope, prayer and trust that you are on the right track. 
Making jam and salsa is not like this. I know within a few short hours if I did it right or not. My plum jam set, my pear jam is actually syrup. The salsa would turn brown and toxic if I don't get the seal right. You can see the results, check the boxes and know that you did it right or not. 
Doing some short term, check the boxes kind of jobs is really good for my heart. 
Here is the truth: I can't check any boxes on whether I am winning the battle with my strongest willed child, but I can see with my own two eyes that a bunch of tomatoes, peppers and spices come together to make a lovely jar of salsa. 
Today will have its own challenges, Right now, my day holds a looming list of complicated issues that I may or may not be able to resolve. But I can start my day with jam made from fruit in my own front yard, and there is something infinitely satisfying about that. 
I pray that no matter what sticky issues you may be facing, that your day has a few "plum jam moments" in it as well. 

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