Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pears Part 2

Mom's vision may be limited due to macular degeneration but she can still do so many things. Sam was already seated at the island cutting up banana peppers so Mom sat down beside him.

“I can’t see a thing. I need more light,” she said immediately. Sam traded places with her to get her closer to the light fixture.

“I still can’t see.”

So I sent Sam to the basement to bring up the pole light.

“These pears are kind of stony,” she commented, “but won’t they taste good this winter? Where’s that other peeler I used last night for the potatoes?”

Good question, I thought as I rummaged through the drawer. How does a utensil used so recently find its way to the bottom of the pile?

“I’m not sure how I’m going to get the core out.”

Back to the utensil drawer to retrieve my melon baller—perfect for the task. I told her I’d take the cores out.

We chatted and laughed as she worked her way through the box of fruit. I retrieved some pint jars and washed them. In between, I cored the pears and teased her when I found one that still had peeling on it—which was actually every one—but I didn’t tell her that.

Mom cleaned the stray peelings from the counter and put them in the scrap bucket and then took her place in her chair in the living room. I worked on filling the jars, making the syrup and fixing us all something to eat.

Using some leftover pork roast, swiss cheese, pickles, salami and part of a loaf of French bread, I made us a Minnesota version of Cuban sandwich in the George Foreman grill. Mom and Sam both loved the sandwich with some of the soup Mom made earlier in the day.

The syrup came to a boil and I poured it over the jars and put the lids on. We decided that Mom would hot water bath them the next day so I put the 14 pints in a box.

I stood at the counter and ate my sandwich and surveyed the damages in the kitchen. A sink full of hot soapy water along with the dishwasher made the cleanup relatively quick.

Sitting on the couch, I picked up the new issue of Mother Earth News—the one with the “Cheap, Easy, Do-it-Yourself Greenhouse” on the cover. I read Mom the article about building your own hoop garden greenhouses so you can grow vegetables year round. We agreed it sounded like way more work than we wanted to do. We will enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor that have been canned and frozen.

I am continually amazed at Mom’s ability and, more importantly, her willingness to work and be productive.

As she walked to her room to get ready for bed, she reminded me, “Save the skins and cores, I can make a batch of pear honey from them tomorrow,” Mom said.

I’m learning more and more that I come from people for whom work is play and play is work.

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