Fall is my favorite season.  I don’t know if that is because I was born in the fall so I have a natural affinity for it, or if it is just objectively the loveliest season of the year.

Anyway, a friend allerted us to the grape harvest, so we took off to pick concord grapes. 

We came home and filled the laundry tub with the grapes in order to wash them before processing.  The next step was truly not to try to buy anybody’s affection or a manifestation of neurosis.  Honest.  I peeled 8 cups of grapes.    Why you may ask?  For pie, of course.

  Yep, it does take a long time to skin so many grapes.

 

After skinning the grapes, the pulp was cooked, run through the mill and then reunited with the skins, combined with other pie ingredients and put into the freezer till Thanksgiving pie-making day.

That only took up a few of the grapes.  The rest were separated from their stems,

put into the kettle

simmered, and then strained for juice.

The results?  Wonderful, wholesome concord grape juice and fixings for grape jam. 

As with so many things I do, I find myself meditating while working.  Fall brings the harvest, and in times past, that has meant lots of activity in the garden and kitchen and out in the mountains picking berries with the kids and having many hands to do the work.  This year, we have the harvest, but with the last child gone, I have entered into a new season in my life.  I can still put up the harvest, but it isn’t nearly as much fun when done alone.  And it takes triple the time without the “many hands making light work.” 

Should I continue doing this I ask myself?  I probably will, because it connects me to my parents who loved the harvest and made lots of jellies and applesauce in the fall.   Also, it is a blessing to be able to share the fruits of the harvest with others. 

I owe my sister a tithe.  It came about in this way.  In dividing my mother’s kitchen utensils, her name was on the food mill.  We decided I would get my mother’s mill in exchange for a share of whatever went through it (juice, applesauce, etc.) 

Using the mill gives me ample time to recall the days I shared in the work with my own mother.  It is also a reminder to pray for her and my sister who gave it to me.  It also reminds me to be thankful for the many years the preparation of the harvest was a noisy, joyous affair.

I’ll do this awhile longer.  Perhaps next year I’ll have my grandchildren over for a home-ec day of homeschooling to pull stems off the grapes, peel them and run them through the mill.  Then they too can pray with me for their great-grandmother who taught me how to put food up and their great aunt who passed the mill on to me.

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