Tricia Ann and I had a joyful and productive day. We spent our time preserving the strawberries that we were able to pick from a U-Pick-It farm that we visited yesterday. We canned 6 half pints of strawberry jam, froze 4 quarts of plain strawberries, baked a pound cake, and sugared the rest of the berries for topping.
Now, I've heard more than a few folks wonder aloud about why we would ever want to spend all that time and effort to can and freeze our produce rather than simply buying it pre-packaged. I contend that the pleasures of preserving the harvest far outweigh the convenience of purchasing these items at the grocery.
First, there's the delight of enjoying the produce with all of your senses - the beautiful shiny red of the bowl of strawberries, the tart smell and fuzzy softness of the perfectly ripened peach, the crisp snapping of the green bean, the tart crunch of the Granny Smith apple...
And what about the sheer wonder of God's creation, the amazing variety of the fruits and vegetables He gives us? Each season is a new celebration of His bountiful blessings - strawberries in the springtime, green beans, squash, tomatoes, and peppers in the summer, apples and pears in the fall, and a blissful rest in wintertime to enjoy the fruit of our labors.
The most glorious benefit of preserving the harvest, though, is the fellowship that happens as a consequence of spending time together in a shared endeavor. I find that we have the best, most covenantal conversations when we're working together in the garden, planting, hoeing, and picking or in the kitchen peeling, slicing and cooking! Sometimes, we sing silly songs. Sometimes, we make plans for the future. Sometimes, we brainstorm for solutions. Sometimes, we praise the Lord for His goodness. Sometimes, we ponder deep theological questions. And sometimes, we're just together and quiet.
I think that together is the key. I'm so thankful that the Lord has seen fit to allow my family to order our lives so that we can redeem the time together. One of us may not be here tomorrow, but how blessed we are to have been together today. How much richer we are for having spent some time together preserving the harvest!
who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.