My Grandma was the Queen Canner and Freezer. A huge garden brought in a huge bounty and we preserved it to enjoy all year.
But when my Grandma needed to downsize her household belongings as she got older, we put all of those food preservation things on the auction. No one canned or really even had a garden so it made sense.
Don’t get me wrong – we all had our chance to claim any of it we wanted. But when 19-year-old-me was asked if I wanted all canning jars and other equipment I said “I just don’t see me ever being the kind of person who cans.”
Fast forward. Four years ago we planted out first garden and I froze a little of the excess. By the next year, I asked for a bigger deep freeze to hold all the preserving I was doing. I bought some canning jars and made my first batches of sauce. I started fermenting foods.
And now, I’m (im)patiently waiting to get my huge garden in, all while I dream of what I can do with the surplus, and what new fun things I might come up. How full my freezer will be. What stuff I might try fermenting this year.
So, yeah, I’m the kind of person who cans. Who freezes. Who cooks from scratch. Who saves chicken and turkey bones to make stock. And lots of other things that may seem weird or old-fashioned.
If someone catches me on my best day (and they have) it seems like I’m Wonder Mom with 4 arms, prepping in the kitchen with stock, yogurt, and a quick batch of cleaning wipes, all before heading out for a play date.
What they miss of course, is that I’ve been putting all of these things off all week because I can’t get caught up on dishes so there aren’t any jars to make yogurt, my freezer is too full so the chickens weren’t optional, and oh yeah, I needed to get the wipes to the preschool because I said I would.
And that I laid awake for 2 hours last night plotting the logistics of making all of these things happen before we walked out the door at 9am.
Wonder Mom, I am not. Pulled-off-a-semi-miraculous-time-management-morning Mom, I am.
Normally it’s a pot of stock here. A batch of yogurt there. O, the kids need more juice? I’ll change the water kefir. A little of this. A little of that.
For us, it’s doing the best we can at home. And that’s been an entire learning curve and process over the last 7 years. A crazy story if there ever was one. One that involved my husband shaving his beard. Maybe that’s unrelated. But I remember that part.
And mostly we try to follow the 80/20 – 80% of the time we’re really good so that 20% of the time we don’t have to think about it so much. I love it. There’s a lot of grace there. I don’t have to be perfect and I still get pizza.
And it means that when we’re out, when we’re visiting family, when we’re with friends, or at a church event, that we don’t have to be super strict. Thankfully we don’t have any allergies, just sensitivities that so far everyone have outgrown. So we can be lenient. We can enjoy the fellowship.
And man, this pregnancy, I’m super crazy hungry all the time and let’s just say, our snacking (ok my snacking and therefore the kids’ snacking) got a little more junkie than we’d like. I swear, there’s something about my childhood snacks that I like extra want when I’m pregnant.
So I was really excited to find healthier snack options that still hit the spot on my cravings – especially the one for cheez-its. [Check it out. You get a month for free and there’s all kinds of goodies.]
This has been a season of grace-filled growth for me in the pregnancy-craving department. In the what-do-I-really-have-energy-to-manage department. In the oh-man-we-haven’t-found-a-pastured-chicken-guy-here department.
It’s part of our learning curve on our journey of making better food decisions for our family.
I should have kept every one of those jars of my Grandma’s. Every crock. Every little thing I could have to make this easier.
But then again, it wouldn’t have been the same. The path, the journey, the collection of all the jars I can get my hands on – it wouldn’t have the same result.
Plus, I have the best part of doing all that work with Grandma – the memories and the skills to get it done.
P.S. If you see me frantically running to my garden for dill after 11 it’s because I’m making pickles. Don’t bother knocking on the door; my hands will be dirty and I could use some help slicing peaches. Because of course it’s all ready to put up on like one day. I’ll shower sometime next week….