Yesterday I canned green beans. On a cold winter evening when I'm tired from working all day, I'll be glad I did. But yesterday, canning beans was just more work on a stifling July afternoon. That's the thing about raising a garden: it won't wait. When a vegetable is ready, it's ready. If you wait until it suits your schedule and/or your mood to preserve it, chances are it will be too late. Since I'm not good at last-minute changes to my plans for the day, gardening has a tendency to bend me out of shape a lot this time of year.
Temperatures have been in the 90s here for the past week, along with enough humidity to make the laundry stay wet on the clothesline until supper time. When it's that hot and humid, my brain turns to fuzz and about the only thing I can accomplish is a good nap. The thought of having the stove eye on for several hours in that kind of heat was daunting. Thank goodness Robin did the picking and snapping. My dad always said that you shouldn't pick beans while the vines are wet because it will cause the remaining beans to have rusty spots. That meant Robin couldn't start picking until almost noon, since we had rain the night before. He snapped the beans while I washed dishes, which helped a lot. Then I washed jars, washed beans, and packed them into the jars. At last, into the pressure canner they went. It takes about 30 minutes to get the pressure up, then 20 minutes to cook, and then almost an hour to let the pressure reduce so the canner can be safely opened. Finally the hot jars, usually with contents still boiling, were set out on the counter to cool and seal. All that is for one batch; I had to do two. It was after 6:00 before the beans were all done. By that time, everything was hot through and through: the kitchen, the house, me, ugh.
The good thing about the whole process was that after sundown, the air cooled and I sat on the screen porch reading a good book for a couple of hours. After I've put out the effort to get the garden produce ready for winter, I don't mind treating myself to some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Kind of like the beans in the jars: they're under a lot of pressure, then the pressure lets up and they get to rest a while. In the end, they come out of the jar better than they went in. In the grand scheme of life, with all its pressures, I hope I do the same: finish up a better person than when I started. That would be sweet indeed.