Every once in awhile, I find myself wondering what it would have been like to be a rancher’s wife when this area was just opening up. I can’t imagine braving the winters, the wildlife, the hard work, and the area that crosses my mind the most…LONELINESS! I can easily imagine how they might have stood just outside their cabin door and looked across this HUGE valley and not seen a single house in sight, no neighbors….not even the sight of smoke from another fireplace miles away. Thinking about that brings me more insight into the importance they put on community. They HAD to pull together to make it here and they made GREAT effort to get together to socialize and more importantly WORK together so that they could all succeed in this new and unknown terrain. They NEEDED each other!
I think that many times in THIS day and age we don’t realize how much we need each other. I received an email today from a dear sweet mother who EVERY year sends out an email alerting all of us about her trip to get produce: tomatoes, apples, peppers, and more. She will go and do the picking and bring us back our “orders” of fresh u-pick produce…except that it is SHE-pick. If it weren’t for her, I would NEVER get down to that part of the state to get that wonderful produce and I would have nothing to can for the winter. I hardly know her and yet she seems to gladly do this for so many others, year after year after year.
When we first moved here, a lady, who is now a dear friend, invited me over to can peaches with her. I had NEVER canned anything much less peaches. How wonderful it was to glean from her experience and to be inspired by how hard she worked to provide great food for her family throughout the winter. Now, those of you who live in areas where a great variety of fresh produce is available year round, may not relate to what I’m saying here. However, one of the stark realities of living here as compared to living in the South was the slim pickings of a variety of produce during the winter months. Thus, I have learned through my sweet friend and a variety of trial and error episodes of my own, how to “put up” food for the winter months.
This year, I find myself a bit tired and not looking forward to the whole “canning” season during September and October. SO, I’m inviting a couple of friends over to join me in my efforts hoping the comarderie will motivate me a bit. I have a feeling that is why quilting circles and canning days and harvest events were such big deals in the early days of our country. It was a combined need for socializing and comraderie for work….during a season when everyone was a bit “worked out”.
I LOVE walking into my pantry and seeing all the things stored for the winter….kind of Laura Ingalls Wilder described as her feelings of seeing all that her family put up before the winter winds blew. It’s such a feeling of satisfaction and yes, even comfort and anticipation. After we put up the tomatoes and apples, I’m going to take pictures of my pantry….such a colorful array of fruits and vegetables. I’ll share that with you just as soon as I can. In the meantime, I hope that all of us will remember the importance of community……and take the time and opportunity to create and nurture it where God has planted each of us.