Today’s tally:

One trip to the downtown farmer’s market… in sweatshirts, a first for the year.

I found myself walking, arms linked, with my two sons.. one now four inches taller than I am, the other almost my height and strong enough to take my half-bushels of plums, bags of cooking onions, and boxes of canning tomatoes and carry them with ease. How did this happen, that I went from being the mom with children forever clinging to my knees — to this woman walking between two young men?

We canned a nice row of pickled beets last night, that I had picked up from the suburban farmers market on Wednesday. My hands were stained beet red this morning at out weight watchers meeting (I am ounces from having lost 25 pounds, and Jeff is like three sit-ups from 30.)

Today we put up pickled cauliflower — purple, yellow and white ones, so pretty Jeff took a picture before we pulled them apart. (I’ll post it here soon.) We bought turnips and carrots, gorgeous big broccoli and green onions, and I canned a dozen pints of Italian prune plums and made rows of jars of bright plum jam — all made with apple juice concentrate instead of sugar.

The kids sliced enough roma tomatoes to fill the trays of two dehydrators, and I canned more beets, more tomatoes, and two pints of pickled brussels sprouts. Connor picked out little pickling cukes and made his famous dill pickles. I canned some apple-plum juice, and before bed, made a huge pot of Mama Lea’s navy bean and kale soup for the freezer.

Tomorrow we go to the lake and pull out the dock, drain the pipes and help my folks close up. I don’t know what will happen with the kiln, yet — there may be some big changes rolling our way soon, so I am waiting to see, and meanwhile busying my hands with teaching at the guild (two nights a week now) and working on a commission job in my studio.

And canning. Sorting. Unloading. Tomorrow night Jeff will be out of town but my boys can help me put the top on my hoop house, protecting leeks and chard against looming frost.

Connor was my sous-chef all day, and stood in the kitchen tonight after I mopped the floor, looking at our rows of canning jars in reds, oranges, yellows and greens. “It’s a good feeling”, he says. “Like keeping summer in a jar”.

I am satisfied and weary and ready for bed, tempted to switch off the alarm clock that will wake us all for church tomorrow.

I’ll try to post pictures this week of the girl scout leader training last weekend at Camp Libbey, where a bunch of women dressed like pirates, bunked in cabins full of strangers, cooked caribbean chicken with mango and conch salad on a campfire, and I did the zip-line off the high ropes course.. .

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