Ahh, the sites of fall…

the leaves…

(yes, I realize these are fake… just work with me as I build the image here folks 😉 ).

The cozy decor…

(too soon for that, you say? Well, then just count yourself lucky that there is no recording of the sounds coming from our house… because you would be hearing… and I’m not joking about this… Christmas music! yes, I am just shy of fanatical about Christmas music. I set a personal goal this year to wait until September 1st to break it out. Those last few days were excruciating! It’s a good thing I have other love-able aspects about me, so hubs simply smiles and lets the music play on – gotta love a man who will endure that quirk!)

The steam bellowing from the house,

(okay, so it’s only bellowing from the dishwasher here, just go with it!)

Ushering in the TRUE sign of fall…


Yes, I do realize that through couponing and sales, picking up some quick bottles of pre-canned fruit is really just as cheap (if not cheaper) than the home-canned stuff…

Which begs the question…

Why go through

and this

and this

And even this…

to get a few of these??

Well, I’ll tell you.

I don’t know.

Or at least I didn’t know, until this year.
year after year, I have followed in the traditions of my youth, buying up huge boxes of peaches and pears, and then working like crazy to get them canned and stored for the winter… wondering if all of the work really was saving any money at all.

I mean, after all, people started canning because they grew so much food on their own farms, they had to find a way to store it and literally live off of it through the whole winter. Understandable.
In the not-too-distant past, people could still find fruit at rock bottom prices, so canning was also understandable.
Now-a-days, it seems like the fruit that we find here comes at a premium price, plus all of the time and energy spent in preserving it make it seem like fruitless efforts…

I was going through all of this in my mind as I dug into the 5 boxes of peaches and two boxes of pairs, getting into the canning rhythm and (for the first time) training my kids in the ways of the ‘petersen peach and pear preserving party’.

… and I had an epiphany. I realized that every time I can, I return in part to my child hood. I re live all of those moments (both good and bad!) of our (seemingly) countless years spent canning together as a family.
With 7 kids in tow, my mom had the whole system down to a fine science.

And you knew, the minute you came home from school and opened the door to billowing steam…

That your night was shot.

Any plans you had were out the door.

… it was petersen preservation party. No one was exempt.

So we all took our stations and hunkered down for a looooong evening together.

Where we laughed
and joked
and sang (albeit extremely off key)
and fought
and sometimes sassed (yes, the only time I really remember getting a good ‘knuckle thump’ to the head was during one of the canning sessions when I sassed my mom about something, and my dad thumped me before my lips had even finished whatever smart-allec comment I was making. Boy did I learn how much he loved my mom that night when he said in his ‘this is NO joke’ voice, “Don’t you ever talk that way to my wife again!” and I didn’t. ever. lesson learned.)
… yes I think about that moment each time I can, and I have come to love and admire my dad for that – for teaching me how a husband respects a wife, and teaches his children to respect her as well.

I also think of the games that we concocted and the grooves that we formed with our own little systems working independently, yet interlaced with each other and we moved the food from fresh to canned.

And each year, as canning season arrives,
I get to open my book and see a little bit of my mom

I find myself nostalgic as I go through the steps
and remember the fun moments
(and the not so fun moments)
and for a little bit of time, I am transformed to the days of childhood
(yes, those same days that as a child I dreaded going through!)

And find myself smiling and content
As I look across the counter to see rows and rows of perfectly preserved peaches and pears.
And think to myself, “My mom would be so proud!”
(… and just to make sure, I usually call her up to let her know that we just canned, so that she can actually be proud!).

Because sometimes canning
Is about way more than the money and time.

… now, if you ask me why I decided that this would also be a great time to can 50 pounds of black beans all in one shebang… that I really don’t have an answer for… Other than maybe the steam melting my brain… but that’s a topic for a whole new post!