Tuesday, October 21, 2008

pears all around

Having a nephew(or any small relative) in neo-natal intensive care (NICU) is a lot like being on a roller coaster but the ride doesn't end and you can't get off. Every day there is a new report. Sometimes, it is cautiously optimistic. Sometimes, it is not. Recently, there has been a fever, a lumbar puncture, (he didn't have pneumonia or meningitis) and tons of tests. There are physical therapists and speech therapists, which sounds ridiculous, but if an infant lacks the muscle tone to swallow, suck, and gag, that baby can't feed normally. Some doctors say encouraging things while others say scary things. We continue to hope for the best but it can be hard to focus on "the best" while also hearing things about feeding tubes, tubes that help the kid breathe, IVs, etc. This is some serious stuff over here.
In an effort to keep my life as normal as possible while I am still at home, we went out to dinner last week and bumped into my friend who keeps Romney sheep. Hey, he says, I've got 3 pear trees in my sheep pasture...want to come pick pears? Sure, I say. After all, I need to keep busy, and while my work is busy, I've been needing to be even busier than that. If I'm very busy, I don't worry as much.
We picked a lot of enormous Bartlett pears. So many pears that after we gave away 2 plastic shopping bags to one friend, another bag to a second friend, the entire box pictured above and another bag to a local food pantry? After all that? I made:
9 cups of pear/tomato chutney
8 cups of pear vanilla jam
7 pints of pear honey (gloopy stuff with pears, sugar, pineapple, and lime)
4 sandwich bags stuffed full of dried pears
I still have a small-ish box of, say, 6-10 lbs of pears left to bring with me to Virginia, since my almost 3 year old nephew (new baby's big brother) loves pears. I think one could say it's been a good year for fruit around here... and it's amazing how canning requires all my attention. I get whole blocks of 2 hours or so when I don't worry as much...and for this reason? I'm really grateful for all these pears.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh geez I love pears, and all the canned goods sound amazing. I can understand needing to keep busy, to keep other things that would just bring you to your knees at bay. I'm glad your friend came through with a task to help. Just make sure you're taking care of yourself too, OK?

October 21, 2008 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

The roller coaster rides are the worst. Hang on tight...take deep breaths...scream or close your eyes when you have to. Remember that others on are the ride with you.

I'm grateful for the pears too.

October 22, 2008 at 7:20 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Distractions are very good, when they can take up the worrying part of your mind and put it to work for a while. Worry doesn't help, but it's awfully hard to turn off! There's a lot of positive healing energy poited at this wee mite, hang in there and keep us posted.

October 22, 2008 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Donna D said...

Yum. Can I have the recipe for the pear vanilla jam? I only did apples this year. I missed out on the summer fruits.

October 22, 2008 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

Nothing quite like good hard work, is there?

Hang tough, and take care of yourself too.

October 22, 2008 at 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one of the great things about cooking: It requires enough of your attention to keep you focused (or burn yourself!). Your pear adventures strike me as a very positive way to stay in the moment. When you get to Virginia, you'll be all the better help for having made these efforts, I feel sure.

October 22, 2008 at 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It a-pear-antly helps a great deal, yes. I echo the thoughts above mine, with the added gladness that you've been able to share the literal fruits of your labors along the way.

Blessings to the kind neighbor with the tree, and many many blessings to the little one and those looking out after him.

October 23, 2008 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger ~ Phyllis ~ said...

Prayers for your family and the little one.
Really enjoyed the pictures of the Green Mtn. Spinnery.
Looking forward to your book.
Take care.

October 25, 2008 at 3:23 PM  

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