My kitchen (and, were I to be honest about it, my living room and writing nook and front porch and the back half of our truck)—after the first 12 of a likely 42 days of canning and freezing vegetables and fruits of all sorts? Looks as if a small tornado hit my house and was trying to make up for the mess by fixing dinner in its own wake. Or at least ensure that I never go hungry again.
There are cucumbers in every state of pickledness: washed and drying on any remaining horizontal surfaces (and a few that are headed for vertical, but serving anyway); bathing in an overnight lime-and-vinegar solution; ready for triple (quadruple, were I to be honest about that) rinsing and the ice-water bath before the cook-down stage and then the canning. There are fresh blueberries and cherries and corn and peas slipping into the deep-freeze of hibernation from which they are not intended to awake fully again until they’re roiling in someone’s digestive juices.
There’s a small, pretty, blue, hot pot cradling a batch of fresh raspberry and currant jam, cooling and awaiting its own fateful end. And there are bits and pieces of everything on the compost pile which will never completely go to soil until the little critters that come to feed there day and night—squirrels and birds and chipmunks and woodchucks and butterflies and bees and ants—die and go dust to dust. Dishes and glasses and pots and utensils serve, then await washing, but being of a non-timed nature their wait can take some hours, so they pile atop one another in levels of disarray that have their own hint of grandmotherly charm.
Normally I would be holding the top of my head on to keep it from flying off in such chaos, but this week? Not so. I grin, duck, weave, and bob my way through the lot to my next task, and when I trip or reach for the hot oven rack sans oven mitt (or thought of one prior to the reaching) or knock four things off when I was not really even trying to pick up one yet? Even that is funny these days. For this all—this littered gift of the congenial food-bearing tornado? Is a beautiful cornucopia of life and death and carrying on, no matter what and right to the end.