I Can

My husband will tell you I have two modes, on and off.  There are days in which I wake up, make my cup of coffee, sit in my recliner, put my feet up and drift off to sleep.  I will wake up, tell Hubs “Just let me get in a quick 20 minute nap,” and the next thing we know, I have snoozed in that chair, holding that same cup of coffee all night.  There are other days when I wake up, bounce out of bed, have that first cup of coffee and then can’t sit still until it’s time for bed.  Today was a busy, full of energy, kind of feel like I scared my hubby a little day.  I sat and snapped green beans last night, so that when I got up today I would be able to just toss them in jars and get started.  Partially because yesterday was an “I don’t want to do anything day”, I figured if I could snap beans then, if I didn’t feel like doing much today, I wouldn’t have as much to do.  So they were snapped and ready to go.  So was I.

These are our green beans, which I have been fretting over since they shot their first little green tips up into the sun.  I worried and babied and fretted.  I picked and in a week would have enough to do a pot of soup.  I told Hubby one night, we will never have enough green beans to can.  And I collapsed in the recliner over dramatically, because who wouldn’t?  Let me just tell you, they tricked me.  Last week, between about 5 to 6 days of picking, I filled five grocery bags.  I put them in the fridge and went about my business, knowing I needed a good energy day to can.  I started snapping last night with one bag, and eventually asked hubs to bring me the rest.  When he did I almost cried.  How did those silly plants that teased me with a couple of beans all season long all of a dang sudden produce this much?  But I snapped beans.  My sweet husband asked if I wanted him to snap beans also, but I could tell he was itching to work on his knives, so I said, no I’m good.  I got them done and pretty much went to bed.

Today when I got up, I got my coffee, got dressed and called my mom.  As I talked to her, I was washing the beans, getting my lids warmed up, boiling water in my tea kettle, putting water in the canner and soaking the lid to make it expand just a touch.  I discussed my game plan with her and asked a couple of questions.  She and I have canned green beans together before, but this was my first time canning by myself.  I had out my awesome book, Stocking Up, checking times and fill levels.  I had my kitchen apron on that my mother made for me.  I was ready.  The kettle started to whistle, and we were off.  Fill, tap, cover with boiling water, wipe rim, put on lid, burn finger a little, screw on band, put in canner, repeat.  I had been worried I would only get 5 jars out of my bean patch.  I got 16 pints.  The canner is tall so you can put a double layer, but I still had two lonely pints of green beans that would not be canned this day.  To make them feel loved anyway, I put them in the crock pot with a couple of fingerling potatoes that we planted then promptly forgot, some celery and an onion.  The house smells a lot like green beans right now.

I don’t know if I have mentioned (How many times now?) that my husband is awesome.  So I will mention it now; he’s awesome.  He stood by ready to jump in and help with anything I needed, which I did, and when he saw that I had everything under control and was ready to start the canner up, he went to work on his knives and give me space to do my thing.  Maybe instead of just casually saying that twenty more times, I will tell you- my husband makes custom knives.  But you figured that out already.  He’s really good too!  But you already knew I was going to say that.  With his permission one of these days, I am going to put pictures of them up here so you can see them.  He has a wide variety of styles, good for hunting, a kitchen knife he made for me, and a long filet knife he made for himself for hunting season, a machete because who doesn’t need a machete.  I feel like I will be canning venison stew in a month or so.

I have rambled quite a bit tonight.  Bear with me because this is all new to me.  I’m excited.  My parents got me canning gear for my birthday and I was ecstatic (hello adulthood).  I can tell you what this has all taught me.  Patience and calm.  Weird, I know.  But instead of pacing back and forth in front of the stove, feeling confident that I could do this gave me some calm.  Waiting for the cues the process gives me to know when to do the next step is teaching me to be patient.  You can’t rush this.  Now if only I could apply that to life…..

Until then, here are some pics.

PreCan LoadingTheCanner TwoLonelPints (1) BeansAndTaters TheEndProduct

They're so pretty!

They’re so pretty!