Thursday, November 13, 2014

Plugging Away At My Eulogy

 Autumn is having an impromptu meeting with Winter right now in my yard. The sky is pale faced and looks a bit sickly, as though it wishes to put this meeting off for a future date. But it is not to be, snow is hurtling to the ground, not in gentle flakes but in hard bits that sting.

      Today was a good day to make cranberry sauce, so that's what I did. We love homemade cranberry sauce so I'll make one more batch for a total of 14 pints or so. If you'd like to try it you combine 3 12 ounce bags of washed cranberries with 6 shredded Granny Smith apples, skins included but not seeds. Add 6 cups sugar and 4 1/2 cups water, boil for 15 minutes or until berries pop and it looks thick. Remove from heat and let cool, if it's thick enough to suit you then jar it up and process for 15 minutes, if it isn't thick enough then boil it a bit longer.

     Lately I've felt the need to make soap again so I've made 2 batches so far, the first was pine tar soap and this last batch was made with comfrey tea and a bit of cinnamon. I like soap making to be an economical venture so I tend not to use expensive oils or much fragrance, fresh soapy clean is perfume enough to satisfy me. I want to get a few more molds and then make enough soap to last until Spring, that's my goal anyway, unless life has other ideas.

    This is one of my canning shelves, the jams, pickles, fruits and sauces are all elsewhere. With the chili that I canned yesterday and the cranberry sauce today I have around 425 jars filled. I do have beans soaking now in preparation for canning them tomorrow and pickles are brining so we'll process those on Saturday..... that will give me about 443 jars. I still have applesauce to do and a few other little things, I think I'll get to 500 jars or thereabouts.

     I read a quote from an elderly lady written around the turn of the century and she said that if a woman saw all the dishes that she would have to wash in her lifetime she'd lay down and die right then. So much of a woman's work is used up, or eaten up, or goes unnoticed as anything extraordinary, but the quilts she had sewn were different. They would be kept and cherished as something that Aunt Jane had made. Aunt Jane was writing her eulogy, though I doubt she thought of it that way. I think of that. What will my children remember about me? That I spent a lot of time on facebook? That I valued forgotten skills? That I sewed their clothes and mended socks? Or that I couldn't make crisp pickles to save my life? Everything I spend time on tattles on what I really value, both good and bad.

     It's so easy to get caught up in comparisons, to think that somebody else's life is perfect or pretty close. And it's easy to think "well, I'd do thus and so if only..." I'd like to encourage not to wait one more day to start writing the eulogy that you want remembered. You probably can't jump right into your dream life, I know that I didn't, but begin to build it one baby step at a time. Your dream life won't be mine, but the important thing is that it be what you want it to be. Perfection is overrated, allow yourself the privilege of learning and doing and making mistakes. Life is but a vapor and passes so quickly, to be able to die well with as few regrets as possible takes effort. Monumental effort, for nothing worthwhile is ever easy. If I've ever encouraged you or influenced you, let it be in that.


  1. Well said, my friend, well said.

  2. I agree. And I'm totally going to try this recipe when cranberries go on sale.

    1. Let me know how it goes, don't wait for it to pass the sheeting test, it will resemble road tar if you cook it that long. Cook it slightly less than you think looks done. :)