Preserving

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Sheesh! It’s been two whole weeks since my last blog post, and I have to tell ya — I miss it when I don’t get a chance to write my weekly update!

But our lives just seem to get really hectic this time of year…

Oh, who am I kidding? With 24 chickens, 12 half-wild farm cats, 2 goats, 1 steer, 1 dog, and 1 toddler, our lives are always hectic! (In a good way, of course.)

The past couple of weeks, we’ve been especially busy “putting up” a lot of different stuff.

First it was the peas (shelling, blanching, and freezing ’em), and the next week we spent our evenings turning cabbage into sauerkraut (which turned out really well, by the way).

Last Saturday, I spent about an hour digging and braiding garlic so that it will cure properly.

This week, we’ve been dehydrating and bottling apricots from my grandma’s tree.

And now we’re back to freezing peas again! 😉

Late last night, however, as I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing the pots and pans from another sticky batch of bottled apricots, I couldn’t help but wonder — is it really worth it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff!

There is nothing better than home-grown, home-made, and home-preserved food.

But is it really worth all the time and effort you put into it?

When all is said and done — when all the dirty dishes have been washed and the sticky countertops have been wiped off and the floor has been mopped and you’re finally able to collapse into bed, 3 or 4 hours past your “bedtime” — what do you have to show for it?

A few bottles of salsa that you could have bought for less than $5 each?

I mean, let’s face it, you could definitely save yourself a ton of time by just buying it at the store, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t break the bank, either…

Is it really worth it?

As I stood there last night, on my tired and sore feet, the answer was almost overwhelming:

OF COURSE IT IS!

Because y’know what? We’re getting so much more out of it than just a little bit of food!

We’re gaining skills, satisfaction, self-sufficiency…

And we’re not just preserving our harvest, we’re preserving moments!

Think about it, every time we open a bottle of our home-made pheasant broth, we get to go back and relive all the fun we had as a family, lugging our shotguns up and down the riverbanks last November.

Every time we grab a handful of apple chips, we can think back on that crisp September evening when Lindsey and I laughed and talked and filled bucket after bucket with apples from our neighbors’ tree.

The salsa? Well, I had been out hunting deer all morning (unsuccessfully), and when I came back, Lindsey and I took a little stroll through the garden, picking tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic — and then we came back inside and made a nice little afternoon of it.

And then there’s the elderberry jelly, when we went foraging up the canyon with Lindsey’s dad.

And the list goes on and on!

My point is, there is so much more to “preserving” than just food.

Sure the food is delicious (you haven’t lived until you’ve tried some of Lindsey’s Mexican rice, using home-bottled salsa and pheasant broth), but more than anything else, it’s really about preserving memories — preserving a way of life.

It makes each meal even more special, and it really brings us together as a family.

Is it worth it?

You bet your buttons it is!

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