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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apples and Plums ...Oh My! Plus the spiritual side of life.

While still in the throes of dealing with nature's bountiful gifts this year of apples and plums, I decided to finish off the last 3 1/2 pounds of Italian Prune Plums with a batch of Chinese Plum Sauce.

Apples?  Oh YEAH we have apples this year.  Previously I made and froze apple pie filling for 12 pies.  Now neatly wrapped and stacked in the shop freezer.  A friend, who is also up to her eyeballs in apples and pears, gave me a super recipe for crockpot apple butter.  Fabulous!. Easy peasy!!  No standing and stirring and stirring over a hot pot.  Just put the peeled cored and chopped apples in the crockpot with the sugar and spices and go about your merry way.

Recipes for both are posted at my recipe blog RecipeJunkie   in this post.

So....What did I do today?

Finished up canning the apple butter which had been cooking in the crock pot since yesterday.  Canned the plum sauce.  All the while, listening to Cole Train, Ella Fitzgerald and Delbert McClinton.   While waiting for the product to cool enough to handle, decided all that was left for the early afternoon was to get some crackers, brie cheese, apple slices (did I mention we have a LOT of apples) and some wine so that I could sit on the deck in the magnificent Indian Summer sunshine and read a book for a while.

Apple Butter and Chinese Plum Sauce

On another blog a commenter made reference to how blessed and fortunate we, in the United States, actually are.  His comment was in reference to the Occupy [insert your city] movement that seems to be stressing how disadvantage the 99% (whatever) is and how oppressed we must be by the 1% who control all the wealth.  First of all.....none of that is true but I won't get into the political part of that.

It is the spiritual part that is of interest to me. We have freedoms that are unheard of in other countries.  Freedom of movement. Freedom of thought.  Freedom to chose all sorts of life paths that we might take.  Do we always make the right choices?  Probably not.  But, we have the ability to chose.

With that freedom also comes responsibility.  When you choose badly, as I have often done in my younger years, you either learn from those bad choices and make better choices in the future....or you just keep repeating the same mistakes.

We also live in a society that is caring. Some will say that isn't so because every problem, every person isn't taken care of from cradle to grave.  Caring also means sometimes saying "NO".  Charities and personal help for those in need are abundant.  No matter how bad things get, there IS someone somewhere who is willing to give you a hand up. To help those willing to better themselves and who want to be helped,  lift themselves out of the darkness.  Hand up is not the same as a hand out.  Entitlements and demands to take from others is a perversion of charity.

Looking at my life now, I am grateful for every moment.  Even these moments of what others would think of as drudgery (canning, cleaning, harvesting) are to me a blessing and a joy. I have the ability, the skill and the drive to create. Apple butter from raw apples.  Knitted hats for friends from balls of yarn.  Clothing from cloth.   Those moments of leisure following the drudgery: sitting on the deck with a glass of wine are also a blessing.  The drudgery and the leisure....they go hand in hand.  You can't appreciate one without the other.

Those in the Occupy everywhere contingent who are focusing on the negatives, on money, on possessions and ignoring the blessed life and the opportunties that they have been given, compared to much of the rest of the world, are ignoring the spiritual side of life.  They are starving their souls and screaming into the void.

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