I'm sure for those of you with long term experience, this post is going to be nothing. But to 3 women doing this large scale for the first time......WOW is all I gotta say! 20 minutes to go until the last batch of tomatoes are done. Yup. That's what I said. omg lol Well. done for tonight. We simply ran out of time to finish, so will finish tomorrow afternoon. Last week easy child and I'd picked up a bushel of green beans at great prices. The tomatoes we picked up went bad almost right away and we made up our minds we weren't going to buy from that particular farmer's market unless prepared and able to can the produce that day because the worker was too rough with it causing bruising ect that made them go bad in a flash. Nichole came down today because she wants to learn how to do it too. So we start off by hitting our farmers market. Only thing they had at a good price were a half bushel of green beans for 8 bucks.....I'm beginning to really love the Amish lady that comes each week while I'm sure her competitors are not thrilled with her, she under prices them terribly and her selection of goods (not just produce) is far better. So, wanting more to can than that.......and all of us wanted to do tomatoes as we use them for so many things.......we head off over and yonder to another farmer's market that is quite a drive. Turned out to be well worth it because we arrived when they had very ripe tomatoes and peaches they wanted to move in bulk and we wanted to buy in bulk. Six bucks for a bushel of tomatoes, oh heck yeah when the in town market was asking 20 bucks for a half bushel (I looked at the man like he'd lost his mind), we bought 3 bushels......AND the dude let us pack the boxes as full as we could possibly get them too. We bought them out of what they had left of peaches and added them to what a friend of easy child's had given her this morning that she had left over from canning and wound up with a bushel of peaches. Now Nichole had done her utter best to convince her husband to stay home with the kids because this was going to be a long day of hard busy work and at best he'd be bored to tears. But noooo, he just had to come which meant the kids had to come. easy child had the two older boys most of the day. So not only were we doing this, we were doing it with overly helpful little ones underfoot. I think we displayed amazing patience myself. Darrin, Aubrey, and Brandon helped pop beans with the adults.........and with all of us doing it a bushel and a half of beans took quite a while. At some point we had to shoo the kids away because while they were doing a good job they were getting antsy and slowing down progress. Then easy child starts putting together the pressure cooker we bought last year and used once, ONCE. She didn't bring the manual. She couldn't find one of the vital parts either that held the pressure gauge in place. I keep trying to get her to go home and get the manual, because we didn't even know what this piece looked like. Nope. But finally she looked it up online. Then headed off to the store to try to find a replacement, came back with another gauge thinking it would have the bolt included.......and it didn't. Took it back to the store, asked the store clerk...he gave her a substitute and assured her it would work.......and 40 mins later we were just as certain that it wasn't. sister in law kept telling us he could fix it. Now sister in law is about the handiest person I've ever met and he's got an amazing mechanical mind. But zero exposure to pressure cookers, which made me doubtful. And I have long experience with the darn things to know they are just not something to attempt to jury rig. Well, to make a long story short, because this was slowing down progress almost to a halt.....easy child told sister in law to give it a whirl and he did manage to find a bolt that worked just fine. So then, even in AC, we're pouring sweat while loading the pressure cooker with jars of green beans........while blanching tomatoes and putting them into cold water in the sink to peel them and filling their jars...........At first it was awkward and we joked and laughed alot at ourselves. But it wasn't too long and we got into a groove and got a sort of assembly line deal going. We had water bath going for tomatoes while pressure cooking the green beans...........and still I'm waiting out the last batch at 1 am. omg And we are only half done. Nichole went home around 10:30 because while Aubrey was being an angel and Oliver had long since fallen asleep in the portacrib, they still had an hour drive. sister in law had taken the boys home to bed at 8pm. easy child and I still had green beans to do and the tomatoes to finish up. We still have a bushel of tomatoes to go, the bushel of peaches, and 1/4 bushel of green beans. omg easy child and I will be finishing those tomorrow afternoon. After being here so long today I told Nichole she could come down if she wanted but not to feel obliged to do so. She'll be picking up her share of the cans (which already is a LOT) on next saturday if she doesn't make it down tomorrow. Her husband sulked and complained and pouted. She kept telling him she'd warned him and he was determined he had to come. lol I will say this though, I have new respect for my grandmothers and those before them. We needed ALL my counter space AND my kitchen table, in addition we used several chairs. It was not hard, but it was a LOT of work, HOT work even in AC. I think of my grandmothers doing this in 90 degree heat with nothing as fancy as a pressure cooker, AC, or even indoor plumbing....holy heck how did they do it?? (I know because they had to but still!) Shoot most old houses didn't have counters pre 1920's for pete's sake. But there were tons of laughs and tons of visiting both children and adults. Kiddos got to believe it so utterly cool to pop beans and Aubrey even got to try her hand at peeling tomatoes. lol Grandkids were amazingly well behaved. Maggie........for all the "family who don't come home often" did pretty darn amazing too once the initial excitement wore off.......although all the commotion had her baffled. Bruce discovered it is unwise to touch a cooling jar while sniffing it and one popping nearly scared him to death. LOL All this when our power went off at 4am this morning. I had just fallen asleep finally at 2am. The sudden silence woke me up instantly, going back to sleep wasn't so silent or easy. No fan meant I heard every chirping insect within a 3 block radius and every car leaving for work or coming home from a night of drinking at that ungodly hour. I had just drifted off when the power came back on at a little past 7:30 am, which woke me right up again. No going back to sleep as I had the girls coming over to can. So, needless to say...........I am totally exhausted. Canning will resume tomorrow afternoon because I plan to sleep in late.