It’s the Pits (But I Love It)

I don’t know whether anyone has noticed, but I have been seriously off the grid for the past week or so. Sporadic Facebook checking, maybe 15 seconds at a time. Two or three blog posts started but none finished. I’ve added only 250 words to my novel this whole week. Really, I’m not just being lazy. There is a perfectly good explanation, which I can sum up in four words:

The peaches are ripe.

We have one peach tree in our back yard. In last summer’s drought, the peaches were skimpy and ugly, plus we had to arm-wrestle the bugs for the few that ripened enough to bother with. We ended up with just about enough peach fragments to top a couple of bowls of ice cream.

This year is another story. A mild winter and timely rains have loaded our little tree with beautiful, fat peaches. Some of the branches bend almost to the ground.

As yummy and pie-heavenish as all this may sound, I’m not gonna lie… it’s a lot of work, too. As a matter of fact, I can’t keep up with even this one tree.

Every morning I look out and see anywhere from one to a dozen peaches on the ground. Most have fallen because they were moldy or damaged, and they have splatted on the grass. I collect these with a trowel. Scanning through the tree, I knock down any additional moldy peaches that I see, so they won’t fall on my head while I’m under there. More work with the trowel. A plastic grocery bag, filled with reject fruit to where I can still tie it shut, weighs 15 or 20 pounds. (I’m guessing here… excuse me for not taking our bathroom scale outside to get icky peach juice dripped on it!) A kitchen trash bag will take two or three grocery bags’ worth before it gets too heavy to pick up without tearing.

The ground cleared, I turn to the branches and start tugging on the fruit that looks ripe. If it comes off easily, it’s ready. Some peaches look all red and juicy but they’re still rock-hard, so I leave them for another day. After I’ve checked the fruit within reach, out comes the stepladder and I repeat the process higher up. Of course, as I move the ladder around I keep knocking it into the tree and occasionally downing more moldy fruit. But the good stuff is up there! Just yesterday I filled my two biggest bowls and a tray with perfectly good peaches.

Once you lug the fruit inside, then what do you do with it? Well, I’ve been peeling / slicing / freezing quite a bit, which takes forever and leaves me with veggie-peeler writer’s cramp and sticky hands. And sticky countertops, floor, clothing, appliances…

Yesterday I took the “scratch-and-dent” peaches that I had just picked, the ones with a soft spot or a bird bite out of them, and sliced the good parts into a bowl. I ended up with enough for two or three pies. Those slices are in the fridge, waiting for me to make a crust.

Meanwhile, I keep filling more grocery bags with peach skins and pits. I’m running out of grocery bags, and I can’t go to the store because there’s no room in the fridge or freezer for any more groceries. This morning the rolling trash can was almost too heavy to roll to the curb. I felt a little guilty about the sanitation crew having to hoist those heavy kitchen bags that I can barely lift, so I met the truck and gave them a bag of fresh peaches for lunch.

Lunch-bag by lunch-bag, I’m taking peaches to the neighbors and making room in the fridge for tomorrow’s picks. The bounty is overwhelming and keeps me from writing as much as I should, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. After all, I can always spend more time writing when the tree is covered with nothing but leaves.

How about you? Do you ever have to suspend a favorite activity for a season while you take care of something else?

Well, I guess I’d better go roll out some pastry. But first, it looks as if I need to grab the trowel again. . .

Thanks for reading,
Jan
Linking up with Jen and my Soli Deo Gloria sisters!
and with Rachel Anne for some Company Girls Coffee. With peaches, of course.

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12 Responses to It’s the Pits (But I Love It)

  1. Martha Stewart has a lovely rosemary-peach jam that we can and enjoy all winter. I highly recommend it! Clearly, you have plenty of peaches. The Ball canning book also has a peach BBQ sauce that is quite tasty.
    http://definingmotherhood.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/sow/

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  2. Cindy Gise says:

    You need my peach peeler! It is amazing. My dad used it when he was a kid and now I have it. Since my dad is 85 I’m guessing the peeler is at least 80 years old. Still works like a charm. And nothing evokes memories of summer like the aroma of peaches. Let me get my ice cream freezer out and we can have a great time.

    Love ya,
    Cindy

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Jan, Now you know how much time it takes to work with fruit. I still have a freezer full of juice to be made into jelly. But am looking forward to some peaches when you come down. Sorry about this delay in being able to get some writing done. Those peaches sure look good Love Mom

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  4. Kathy Falley says:

    Jan,let’s trade! I have 6 Purple Plum trees,and have several sm Plums!! I tried strawberries this year,and have a small garden. So much fun to collect strawberries every morning,and blueberries also.
    Happy gardening!!
    Kathy

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  5. Dionne says:

    I think my tomato plant and basil are about to do that to me…perhaps the veggies are about to get revenge? Hehehe. I love this post because you sum it up so well and I seriously want to come to your house and help you eat them…okay pick them too. Maybe you could sell the peaches? People love fresh fruit and here in the valley in Grand Junction…peaches grow well and are a gold treasure…My family hurts themselves on them every Aug-Oct. Now, if I get my blueberry tree to grow better…I think it is just too hot! Yes, feeding newborns who are fussy and have medical problems caused me to put my other hobbies on hold. 🙂 Well worth it though.

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    • Jan says:

      Bring on the tomatoes and basil… I’m just about peached out. I agree, babies are the best excuse to put anything else on hold! Thanks for stopping by today.

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