Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Choice


Feeling uninspired as a writer? Check.  Feeling a lack of success as an artist?  Check.  Feeling sorry for myself? Perhaps the biggest check of all, and if you’ll bear with me for one more-I recognized a reality check was in order.

Yesterday I spent a few hours doing some good old fashioned home canning.  I’d been staring at a 23 pound box of red Bartlett pears for a few days and decided they weren’t going to can themselves.  And I also kicked my own can a little and told myself that moping around and staring at a computer screen were not how I want to spend all of my time.

What I love about canning is not only the satisfaction of a job well done, when I am done, but I love the process.  It’s hot, and I dirty a lot of dishes and utensils.  Boxes of produce and kettles of water are heavy, and I get tired.  My back hurts.  But I’m serious about liking every second of it, because sometimes it just feels good to do some hard physical work.

Women in the past knew all about that.  My mom told me recently that her grandmother used to get so tired she wanted to die.   Cooking for the threshing crews and cleaning up, only to have to do the same thing over and over and over-plus do all the other household work too.

I have it pretty easy.  I wash a couple dishes, and then moon about my lack of inspiration as I try to write a blog post.  I sweep the kitchen floor and then obsess over my Etsy shop statistics.  So it’s no wonder that when I bought my vintage canner a few years ago, the clerk asked me what I was going to use it for.  “Canning,” I replied quizzically.  I guess the  obvious wasn’t so obvious any more.


Today I am pretty satisfied with my gleaming jars of pears.  Due to the gorgeous red skin of these particular Bartlett’s-the finished pears have a lovely rosy pink tint to them.  I know that come winter they will taste good as well as being pretty to look at.

Now back to the internet…

(To post this!)


  1. Oh they turned out great! I was going to can today but I ended up sorting through toys for an upcoming yard sale instead. Still productive I guess.

  2. I agree with you. Sometimes good, physical labor is so satisfying. And since I sit behind a desk for the day job, that physical labor is hard to come by (and since hubby does most of the housework!).

    I'm not a pear fan, but they do look quite good. I'm glad you were able to do something you enjoyed. :-)

  3. I once asked a family friend who lived into her 90s what her secret to a long, healthy life was. She told me it was hard work on the farm. I think that's true, that the hard, physical work of farming, gardening, canning, or any physical activity that's for our health or nutrition benefits us in so many ways. Those pears look like they'll be such a treat in the winter months, a little bit of summer visiting.

  4. Lisa-sorting toys sounds very productive. If you make some money-you can get more stuff to can!

    Melissa-any time I feel sluggish, I know that getting up and doing something is the best thing I can do. I always feel better! And I like canned pears--as long as they aren't gritty:)

    Joanne-I agree whole heartedly. People used to work so hard just accomplishing the tasks necessary for day to day living. We have more conveniences now, and I appreciate those-but they may come at a price.

  5. I'm so impressed with your canning! This past spring I found a beautiful, in perfect condition canning pot similar to yours with everything intact on the curb. Shaune thought we won the lottery because he's always wanted one. He hasn't done any canning yet but knowing him, he will.

    I know what you mean about shaking yourself out of being in your head by doing some physical work. It's one of the lessons of life I refuse to embrace. It's a painful process everytime. I too suffer from all things to do with writing. I've been working on a book for some time now, but lack of time, lack of motivation, lack of confidence all work against me. Your bags are just beautiful, I know I've said it before, they are just beautiful. As is your writing my friend.

  6. Those pears look yummy! Wish I had all your energy!

  7. Kim-Thanks! I really, really appreciate your wonderful comment:) And I can relate to Shaune feeling like he won the lottery! When I found my first canner years ago-when I was working as an apartment cleaner in Seattle-I felt that way too:)

    You keep working on your writing-and that book Kim-you are a gifted writer, and I think for all of us, the struggle is part of the process:)

  8. Thanks Debbi:) My reward for my work will taste sweet!

  9. Job well done! I haven't gotten up the courage to try canning yet, but I absolutely know what you mean about the satisfaction that comes with doing something physical. Making biscuits gives me that same kind of feeling. It's wonderful, isn't it? And those pears look gorgeous!!

    PS - hope you find your inspiration soon. I know where you're coming from. Bloggy land is in a slump all around I think. :(

  10. I can so relate to this post. Worrying over our success can be so bad for the creative process--especially since the standards of artistic success are so outrageous these days. (If you are not a millionaire...or a household name...then somehow it doesn't count.)

    Seeing all the street musicians struggling for change in Nashville this weekend helped me to re-center myself. I am going to focus on filling my life with joy and let all the rest follow. And making an impact, even if it is a small one, is a victory.

  11. Katie, Thanks! And I bet you make a mean batch of biscuits:) Here's hoping the bloggy land slump ends soon:)

    Tina-I think a life without joy would be a sad life-it's something I don't want to lose sight of. I am trying to concentrate on those small impacts too. I know they can make big differences. Thanks for your thoughtful comment:)