Peaches

Children playing and gardening - Grattan School mural

9:00 p.m.

Bedtime. Good day. Today we harvested the last of the September peaches–two flatbed trailers loaded with heaping bushel baskets.

For three weeks, at every meal, we’ve enjoyed huge crockery bowls full of sliced peaches with fresh cream, slightly sugared. No matter how many or how full the bowls, when the cleanup crew begins their work, every one of those crocks is empty, scraped nearly clean.

This week, the kitchen crews, including me, worked amid steaming pots—canning peach nectar, making preserves, and freezing sliced peaches for tasty winter treats. We’ve prepared and frozen dozens of pie fillings, ready to thaw and pop in pie shells for a taste of summer anytime we get the hankering.

Each of us has a favorite peach concoction, of course, apart from pie and peaches and cream.

Me, I like to blend a peach picked fresh from the tree with unsweetened yogurt, vine-ripened berries, and a fresh-peeled orange. Pour that beauty into a tall, clear glass, add a scone hot from the oven, a cool morning breeze after a couple of early morning hours in the garden, and you just might hear me oohing and ahhing with unabashed pleasure. For a special treat for the kiddies, I make a double batch and pour the extra into ice cube trays, pop in a stick for a handle, and into the freezer. I confess, on a hot day I dip into these frozen treats with as much anticipation as the little ones.

Of course, the best peach treat is a fuzzy, yellow and pink orb, picked fresh from the tree, so ripe it drops into your hand at a touch, so full of sweet juice that when you bite into it, you have to lean out, mouth over the ground so the juice doesn’t spurt onto your shirt.

The tastiest peaches are messy. You don’t just lick your fingers, you lick your hand, and if no one is looking, maybe your wrist, getting every drop of nectar.

Much as I love them, right now, I can hardly bear the thought of one more peach. I’m that weary. I had thought to tell more of the wedding trip, but my muscles ache so from climbing up and down ladders and hefting bushel baskets that all I want to do is sit right here on my soft bed, pillows tucked round me, and drink this steaming cup of mint tea. Perhaps tomorrow.

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