Pear sauce on oatmeal

It ain’t pretty, but it’s breakfast.

This morning while canning chunky pear sauce and talking to Josh about our kitchen cabinets, I discovered this ugly but delicious combination: oatmeal and pear sauce (with a splash of whole milk).

This pear sauce takes the place of any and all sweeteners for oatmeal. Buh-bye brown sugar. In fact, pear sauce is not only crazy levels of sweet, but it’s also gratefully loaded with fiber, which helps slow down the digestion–which is a great thing when sugar is involved. Sugar + fiber=nature’s way of keeping you healthy. Thanks, Mme. Nature!

I obsessively adore this chunky pear sauce! It immortalizes the fleeting flavor of fresh picked pears and entombs it in a glistening glass sarcophagus. It has a bold grittiness, toothsome appeal, and assertive texture that is missing from sleepy old Mott’s applesauce. I’m not even sure that pear sauce is commercially available, which makes it a billion percent more desirable.

“Rah-rah for pear sauce!” said the homemaker, as she bottled and preserved 16 pints of the golden, lumpy, half-pureed nectar . The sun hung golden in the sky, like a ripe pear.

Pear roulette

I still have about 20 pounds of greenish Bartlett pears. Every few days I go through the basket and pick out the ripe ones. Today I found enough to eat, but not enough to can. The downside to only having one basket of pears is if I wait until there’s enough to can, the ones that are ripe today will be mushy tomorrow.

Plus tomorrow is Sunday, and I don’t do food preservation on the Sabbath.

Today I canned 16 pints of pear sauce (it’s just like apple sauce, but with pears!) Half the jars were smooth pear sauce, half were chunky. Hannah helped me wash and sort the ripe pears. It took a couple hours to get through all that fruit Just for fun we had a jar of chunky pear sauce with dinner tonight, and it was gone within minutes.

I still have more pears that are ripening, as well as apples and plums. What a blessing all this fruit is! Thanks to our neighbors for such a beautiful, bountiful harvest!!

This is what love looks like

Any canning project is a labor of love. This one began last year with Josh aggressively pruning and shaping our neglected pear tree (which also bears Asian pears). It then led to a dangerous ladder-top adventure last week where Grant and I were determined to get every last pear from our tree, even if it meant risking life and limb to do it. Pears can be drama, y’all.

So here I am at 8am, slicing pears, dodging worms, cutting bruises, boiling light syrup, rinsing bottles, and setting timers. All because I love pears. I mean, all because I love my family.

I also love our sweet neighbor, Mary, because her pear trees were much more abundant than our tree, and she shared her orchard with us. Alden and Grant picked a full bucket of pears that will ripen in a few days. Or rot in 6 minutes. There’s really no in-between with pears. That’s why capturing their peak-of-ripeness flavor in a canning jar is one of the most loving things you can do for someone.

Canning in the kitchen during a remodel

I pruned the grapevines, plum tree, and pear tree. I think the grapevines are starting to look more like they should.

I pruned the pear tree lightly, after a heavy pruning last year that resulted in not much fruit.

I pruned the plum tree heavily this year, trying to open the canopy so lower branches will grow and bringing down the overall height of the tree. We’ll see what happens this year, but last year we had more plums than we could handle.

Today was also shearing day for the three wool sheep. We had them fast from food and water for about 18 hours before shearing. The shearer said it might be better for these sheep to be sheared twice a year to avoid felting. He also said their hooves are looking good and dont need trimming, and they’re not too fat or skinny, but to not reduce their feed. Shearing cost $100 for the three sheep. The sheep look kinda funny now… and not nearly so big and imposing.

We worked on building the trail today by spreading wood chips. We also put up fencing around the fruit trees that we planted a few weeks ago to insure against deer. I pruned the pear tree today. I probably removed about 30%, which is more than you should for a pear tree. It might cause the tree to grow over-vigorously this year. But there were a lot of branches growing downward, across the center of the tree, or crowded.

We also dumped about three tractor buckets of wood chips on Heather’s h├╝gelkultur garden row.

The boy lamb looked quite a bit better the day after his first shot five days ago. However, he has continued to run a fever of 104, and he has been lethargic compared to his sister. She is very empathetic and spends a lot of time with him. This morning we gave him his second (and final) antibiotic shot. A few hours later, he was already looking better. But we don’t know if it will last.

The boy lamb is the one in the middle.