Homegrown Happiness

It all started with a jar of peaches. peaches

Sometime recently I started craving canned peaches.  A friend left some store-bought canned peaches at our house, which I later ate…maybe that was the original impetus.  They didn’t taste like Mom’s home-canned ones, though. How could they? Ripe peaches are too delicate to be handled by machines.

I even intended to can some of my own – but I bought them at the grocery store and they rotted before they ripened.  I was too busy and tired in that season to get any at the farmers market, and I missed my opportunity.

Most thankfully, my dear sweet mother (thanks, Mom!) gave me three jars of home-canned peaches at Christmas and ho-lee-cow, they are magnificent.  I scarfed down an entire pint one day when I was feeling poorly, and those peaches were food of the gods.  Not, perhaps, a critical food for survival, but they sure made life more worth living on a day when I felt fairly wretched.  I’m rationing out the last two pints.  One will, I believe, become a treat in February (the armpit of the year) and the third will be saved against a time of extreme need, when love and sunshine in a jar would be the perfect remedy.

DancingThis – and my recent musings on balance and such – has led me to choosing a somewhat radical theme for next year: happiness. Enough of practicality!  I’ve focused for the last several years on filling the pantry with a goodly quantity of calories, protein, and fat; on heating and cooling; on clean water.  I’m not an expert at all of that yet, and I’m still going to grow a big garden and store a bunch of food, but I’d like a different focus for next year.  So I think I’ll explore a different realm: fun food, celebration fare, things we eat just because they bring us joy.

And maybe I’ll play with other activities along the lines of joy and relaxation as well…fun things to do when the lights are out, the roads impassable, and the ‘net is down.  Dealing with a slower rate of change, less influx of novelty. I don’t think people shop compulsively because they think stuff will make them happy; they do it because shopping brings something novel into their lives.  We are accustomed to a very high rate of change and novelty – what happens when that slows down?  Scott and I have done a whole lot of curling up under cozy blankets and reading this holiday season, and you know what? It’s awesome. Unimaginative, repetitive…and really, really satisfying.  Until it got boring, which it did occasionally.  So maybe I’ll hunt up other activities like that: soul-satisfying and enjoyable, happy-making and still sustainable.

Wow.  That sounds kinda…fun.  Could be a good antidote to a lot of the stress and gloom out there.  🙂



  1. Heather said,

    January 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    I LOVE this idea. Will and I spent a good three hours just sitting in front of our fire talking after my grandfather’s funeral and it was one of the most satisfying nights I can remember having with him in years.

    I can’t wait to read about your happiness.

  2. Momster said,

    January 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm


  3. Suzie said,

    January 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    hi! this sounds like some wonderful new year’s thinking!

  4. Lisa Bashert said,

    January 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Emily, this is just what my best friend and I were just talking about today: in all our thinking about sustainability, have we considered what Sustains Us (and makes us happy)? Not sure just how to language it, but as I believe Mother Jones said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” So, what IS it for each of us, that we must have to sustain ourselves in the trying times ahead? Hmmm…. must go think.

  5. Lisa Bashert said,

    January 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Oh, and by the way, we read aloud to each other all the time. Right now, we’re halfway through The Deathly Hallows. But sometimes we read even better stuff than Harry Potter!

  6. Canned Peach Fan said,

    January 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Canned peaches are actually processed at the peak of ripeness – it is the variety of peach that differs. Peaches that are store-bought are called Freestone, while peaches used for canning are Clingstones. Be sure to check the labels to buy USA! Most of the canned peaches you find at the grocery store are packed in California by small, family farms.

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