Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Reading Plans

I'm enjoying a book from the library that's all about summer. Recipes, activities, ideas all pertaining to get the most out of the season. But it isn't Martha Stewart complicated. It's really about simple old fashioned pleasures like camping, picnicing, swimming and kite flying. There are instructions on how to body surf or do a flip turn in the pool or go canoeing. Just the basics. The woman who wrote it doesn't have children, but she geared the book towards families with school aged children with ancedotes from her own childhood and time with her nephews and nieces. It makes me want to make plans to take older kids with me and Dennis someday and just do fun summertime things. Who knows? We may have our own families someday. These are things good to know.

The other book from the library is about preserving and canning. I want to do this every year, put up veggies and fruits from summer to enjoy all year long, envisioning pickles and jams and salsas on my pantry shelves that I personally took charge of. My mom and grandma did this throughout my growing up years, pressing us kids into prep service in the kitchen as they canned and froze produce they either grew or got at the farmstands outside of town. But they never did anything fancy, just the plain simple stuff. Mom's kitchen was never bigger than most people's walk-in closets, barely big enough for the kitchen table and hardly any counter space, but she got the job done. Grandma was a one woman processing plant in her double wide mobile home kitchen, we ate her chutneys and relishes long after she passed away--and we are talking about all her daughters and her grandkids. The running joke was that Grandma was preparing to stock everyone's pantrys to get us all through the Tribulation. And beyond.

I've been growing strawberries in our front yard garden. Sean Koh got our strawberry patch started five years ago and now it is producing tons of fruit. We are eating the berries every day and they are delicious. But I'm starting to think a little ahead, about how to make them into a preserve or conserve so we would enjoy the bounty long after the harvest. My own kitchen has limited space, bigger than Mom's but smaller than Grandma's. But, if I'm organized, it shouldn't be a problem. And really, this is why I don't always want the biggest kitchen in the world. It's not neccessary. Mom and Grandma proved this year after year.

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