There are two time-tried expressions which would counsel us in opposing directions: “Too many hands spoil the broth” or “Many hands make light work.” I can see the veracity of both, but the latter one was more true for me today.
On the grounds of our provincial house in Hankinson, ND, there are concord grape vines, which have an interesting history of their own.
This year, it seems, there was an abundant crop. Thus it was that we were offered some. The Sister who was going to bring them when she came ended up not being able to make it here to Grand Forks so I wasn’t sure if we’d end up with them or not.
Friday afternoon, however, a call came. A woman on staff there was coming up to visit family. She would be bringing the grapes. This solidified my weekend plans. Accompanying the residents to the Potato Bowl parade would probably not fit neatly into my schedule! (This really didn’t bother me, though.)
Knowing the morrow would be packed with plenty of work, I went to bed a little early Friday night, setting my alarm for about 4:20 a.m.
In the morning, I made a point to make my first stop be the chapel, because I did not know if there would be any time later in the day. Well before 6, though, I was in the activity room kitchen, washing grapes. I had found and printed a recipe for grape jam the day before. Hopefully, I would get a lot done before walking over to St. Michael’s Church.
After returning from Mass, I grabbed something quick for breakfast and returned to the activity room, resuming my task of washing and removing the stems from the grapes. There were five lugs, so I had plenty of work still waiting for me!
However, after a bit, Sr. Elaine showed up. She began helping me. I knew she had plenty of other work to do so I hated to see her spend too much time in there. She wasn’t easily dismissed, though, and devoted several hours to cleaning grapes.
Sr. Rebecca was not too far behind her. She, too, came and helped with the overwhelming quantity of grapes.
This left me to devote more time to making jam; not that I’m the expert. After some trial and error and recipe modifications, we have 20 jars of grape jam (or syrup, depending on how well it sets), and many more to come.
By 3:30 p.m., when I quit to come for my shift at the reception desk, we had all the grapes de-stemmed.
Monday, I’ll have to wash the grapes and finishing cutting the crab apples, but at least a lot of the work is behind us. Someone gave us some little crab apples to put in with the next batch (This is supposed to be a good addition, even helping the grapes to gel.)
~ ~ ~
I am very grateful for the help from my Sisters today. Though I wouldn’t call the job “light work,” many hands really do help!!!