Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just One of Those Days...

Have you ever had one of those completely obnoxious days where you get heatstroke while picking a bushel of beans, get stranded in said bean field for hours, chug too much Gatorade and almost vomit, drop a water bath canner lid on your head, and then ruin an entire batch of applesauce after spending three hours sweating over it?  Yeah, me neither.

At least that's the lie I'm telling myself, but so far I seem to be too astute to fall for my own shenanigans.  Yesterday started well enough.  Fuschia and I walked the dog to the library to pick up more homesteading books and even managed to remember the Redbox movies this time.  In an obvious ploy to avoid Saturday morning ritual torture (aka housework) I suggested we visit a local farm to pick up a supply of green beans so I could try out the death trap pressure-canner Mama gave me. So far so good.

We meander into Southern Indiana, arrive at the farm and wait for the tractor that will take us to the land of milk and honey.  Or green beans and blackberries.  Whatever. Our first stop at the berry patch is a raving, rapid success as the fruit hangs in luscious gobs just waiting to hitch a ride in our bucket.  We picked 5 pounds in less than 15 minutes.  Back on the tractor and off to the beans we go.

Perhaps the fact that we were the only morons wanting to pick beans should have been clue enough, but of course we failed to heed the warning.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the vines had not been trellised, but allowed to sprawl willy-nilly.  To say this would be back-breaking is to state the obvious. Our goal was a full bushel of green beans and though the sun sought to beat us into the earth, we, after 45 long minutes, managed to fill the baskets. 

Resting on our laurels, we waited for the promised tractor to return for us. We waited,waited and waited some more.  The world just a stage? We were in Waiting for John Deere.  Finally, after an agonizing ninety minutes with no fluids, no shade and definitely no energy to walk back to our car, I called the farm market and pleasantly (truly) asked that they send a car around.  Just moments later here comes our savior in denim, laying the hammer down on what turned out to be a Kubota(that's a type of tractor, folks). 

Rejuvenated by our rescue we popped into the market to shop for some additional veggies that weren't available to pick.  We loaded up on peaches, Magnum beans (insert size joke here) and some early apples. Alas, we didn't load up on water. Being priced at a prohibitive $2/20 oz we decided to forgo hydration until we returned to town.  I've always been particularly good at ignoring my body's distress and yesterday was no different.  By the time we hit the store, I was as close to actual heat exhaustion as I've ever been.  Gatorade chugging ensued, followed by an epic struggle to retain said fluid.  Not my finest hour.

Never mind, I thought upon regaining lucidity.  We had food to process.  Hours passed, the temp dropped and finally I was ready to make applesauce.  Just last year I learned how to make applesauce and apple butter, which a few of my friends can't get enough of.  It was time to restock.  Going to Fushcia's closet to retrieve the water canner from an upper shelf, I knew I should get the step ladder.  Knew it, yet didn't do it.  Dropped the lid directly (at a 90 degree angle, no less) upon my noggin.  For the second time that day, from two unrelated causes, I almost passed out.  I couldn't form words.  I couldn't even articulate what I was thinking: shitassfuckfuckityfuckdamnit!

After applying a bag of frozen peas to my head wound, I managed to finish my applesauce.  All my cans set up seals beautifully within just minutes of being removed from their jacuzzi.  Life was good.  Until this morning, when upon waking I hobbled into the kitchen to discover mysterious black flakes distributed throughout my golden brown apple goodness.  Turns out my water canner was flaking enamel, only I hadn't noticed it when processing the jars.  Probably cause of the post head-trauma blurry spots. The end result: I had to throw every drop of that applesauce, all 3 hours, 2 blisters, and 1 major injury worth, in the garbage.  A day's work ruined.

And that dear friends is how I ended up in bed all day, depressed and possibly concussed, on the very day that was to be my pressure canner debut.  With any luck I'll be back on my game tomorrow....there's a bushel of hard-won beans waiting for me.

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