…except in canning season. There are seven jars of green tomato relish, four more with pickled beans, and eleven filled with applesauce. There are three more in the fridge – one of each already opened and tasted. Next week a dozen cranberry sauces will join the heavenly tasting host. Most of these are only here for a couple of months; they will depart in Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas boxes to take up space in the cupboards and iceboxes of friends and family. But for now, they are guests in and on my shelves, tables, countertops, and bookcases. My canning equipment is on the dishwasher, adding to the overcrowding. This year’s hot peppers are in bowls with the few remaining green tomatoes. I’ve made a dining table centerpiece of squash because they are beautiful – and I have no room in the kitchen for them. Herbs in jars have broken out of the spice drawer, claiming space next to the drinking glasses. They, too, will be gone over the holidays as tandoori rubs and cajun spice mixes. My house runneth over with the bounty of garden, bog, and orchard.
My home is just the right size for me and my family to live interesting lives. There is enough room for guests to feel at home, but they sleep on a sofa bed. The kitchen is a good size for a 1950’s Cape, but there’s no walk-in pantry. I have enough shelf space for the canned goods we will keep, the dried herbs we will use, and the usual grocery items needed for two weeks of meals. I wouldn’t trade home for a bigger one, but it’s an adventure in inventive storage and display right now. It’s a good thing I like the look of squash and mason jars.
I don’t want a larger-than-life place or life. It’s too much work to go too big, and the world is better for me staying at my current size. The jars that I can’t fit in place are meant to go elsewhere; I’m meant to give them away. I trust in the bounty of next year’s harvest, and the steadfast presence of God that holds me in love. There is a place for everything in my house…and if it doesn’t fit, then it’s not my everything to keep.
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to reap and a time to sow. (Ecclesiastes)