July 5, 2012

Growing Apricots

The other day, when we were out picking fruit, I asked my husband if he could remember whether we knew, when we bought our house, that the tree in the backyard was an apricot tree, or whether we were surprised to see it blossom that first spring.

(It was winter when we moved in, and the limbs were bare. I don't think we would have known by looking what the tree would become a few months later.)

My husband figures we didn't know it was an apricot tree at first - but that neighbors told us before it blossomed. Now that I think about it, that sounds about right. 

When I was growing up, my grandmother had an apricot tree in her backyard and - always - a stash of apricot jam in her kitchen cupboard. To know how to make jam seemed to me like the height of domestic accomplishment - something I would never do on my own.

But then we had this tree in the backyard, and we had to learn. Even after giving apricots away by the bagful, there was a mountain of fruit left over. Jam seemed like the only option.

It was easier than I thought.

Still, making a batch of jam out of backyard apricots always leaves me feeling like a deeply capable person. 

I sort of love that we inherited from our home this summertime tradition, that it requires the attention of all of us together.

The summer after Alice was born, we brought her outside to nap in the shade under the tree while her dad and I harvested. Now she pulls a chair under the lowest branches and reaches into the leaves to pick apricots herself.

And I hope that, after a while, it'll begin to show her what value there is in making something. Anything. A sonnet or a circuit board. How the process of making something new is a stay against boredom and anxiety and so many other things that have us running into ourselves.

Don't laugh, but entering a jar of jam at the County Fair is quickly rising to the top of my must-do list.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...