Monday, August 20, 2012

Put a lid on it

Let me begin by saying that this isn't the post I meant to write tonight.  I had planned to show you the new sock in progress, and possibly to come clean share some recent stash enhancement, but well... this feels more relevant for now.

We are right in the thick of canning season chez Dear.  As you may know if you've been reading for a while, over the past year, I've tried to put more thought into what our family eats, pay attention to where it comes from, and figure out what our relationship to food actually is.  Eating local, enjoying the best of what's produced in our own backyards (literally or figuratively) is something I feel very strongly about.  So in the spirit of "getting it while the getting is good", come August, I spend most of my weekends trying to freeze, can or otherwise process some of the local goodness that is in such abundant supply this time of year.

The "Eat Local" movement is by no means new, and most people in my area either do a bit of canning themselves or know someone who does.  Even so, every so often, when the "what did you do this weekend?" topic comes up and I proudly answer that I processed 50 pounds of tomatoes and canned 12 quarts of dill pickles, I'll get a pause, a smirk and a "Oh, well, I certainly don't have time to do anything like that" remark.

And tonight I asked myself: how many times have knitters heard that kind of comment, right on the heels of a "My grandmother used to knit" remark, from Muggles?  How many times has someone looked at what we're doing and passed a tiny wee perhaps-not-meant-to-be-condescending-even-though-it-kind-of-is judgment on how we spend our time?

Hey, this just in - everything we do takes time.  Every time we choose to do one thing, that's time we're not spending doing any of a million other things. That's just the way it is.

Is canning (or knitting) time consuming?  Absolutely.  Are you allowed to feel like knitting or canning aren't your cup of tea and you'd prefer to spend your time doing something else?  You're darn tootin'.  But where I get off is when that assessment is followed by a judgment on the value of how I choose to spend my time.  When it translates into "I wouldn't do what you're doing, because I have far more important things to do".

Yes, it takes time.  But I know that for every hour on my feet, every neck spasm, and every dramatic complaint from the kids about how "it stinks in here!!!", there will be excitement and authoritative pronouncements that Mum's sauce is the Best Sauce Ever this Winter.  And - to me - that makes the hours I spend canning well spent indeed.

Next time I get that kind of remark, I think I'm going to take a feather from my dear Grandma's cap and tell whomever that they can put a lid on it.  I've got more important things to do.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!


kate-the-enabler said...

Sing it, sistah.
I love everything about this post. I particularly like the way your accompanying photos underline the way that your family values what you do, and is clearly getting hardwired to value doing it themselves. I especially love the one of Maxime cutting dill.
Bravissime :)

Vicki Knitorious said...

Hear, hear! That goes for money, too. Mmmm, I can almost smell those pickles.

sapphireblue said...

Oh my! Those pickles look good!

Sinéad said...

Pickles! I adore pickles. I wish we could get them here so I could preserve them too. All I can get is the pre-pickled ones in a jar. And making your own tomato sauce? There's nothing nicer in my book. Well done you for making nutritious delicious food.

Maryse said...

Beautiful post I think! We must take the time to do things that take time! ;-)

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Great post!

Wow, that's a lot of tomatoes and pickles, etc... but good for you for doing all that! I wish I had the patience to do all that too!

Dawn said...

Those pickles look awesome! I swear I will make pickles one day ;) What a great way to spend your time!