I found myself with bits and dabs of lots of fruit this week. The strawberries have just about finished up and the raspberries are beginning to ripen. My currents are young and only produced a few cups of fruit. I had a half apple in the fridge and some grapes that had seen crisper days I even found some late rhubarb. None was very useful alone but together had potential. I knew I wanted to steam juice them all together but you can imagine just how enamored I was with the idea of pouring all that heat and steam into my already way-to-warm kitchen. Not very is how much. But fruit waits for no man so I pulled out my steamer.

My summer kitchen is well on its way to completion but it still lacks a few important things. Running water is one of them and floor space is another. Have you all noticed how empty space begs to be filled? My DH needed a place to store some of his extra frames and hive boxes. I needed room for the candle making equipment. Nate and Amanda had a stroller that needed to be kept dry. Guess where all that stuff ended up. Not to be undone by all the clutter, I started rearranging and shuffling and came up with enough space to work in. Nothing can be done about the water for another week or two but what’s a little water hauling when the reward is jelly?

Two quarts of fruit yielded two quarts of lovely juice. I added some lemon juice and some sugar and came away with 11, 6 ounce jars of jelly. It has already started to travel around the neighborhood. I have enough to eat and enough to share and enough to store. I LOVE this stuff.

The kitchen worked perfectly. We have a large stainless steel shelving unit that will hold all of my equipment. Bruce is hanging cabinets and shelves everywhere I can reach them. Some higher shelves will hold the things I seldom use but still want out there. I have lots of extra canners and a second dehydrator that set up high. Today, I plan to clean out my cookware and utensils and see what can go outside and what I may need a second set of. I’ll have more room in here and everything I need outside. Yeah!!!

It was so nice to work outside where I could keep and eye on the kids. I worried that I might have a bee problem with fruit and sugar but only one bee stopped by. The cross ventilation kept the room pretty comfortable. The low counters and stove saved my back and shoulders.

Up until now I have needed to haul all of my equipment upstairs from the basement every time I canned or I had to leave it out to trip over for weeks at a time. Anything stored downstairs needs to be washed before it can be used. It’s a lot of heavy lugging for a woman who is not getting any younger. Naturally, the kitchen cost more to build than we expected, even with a lot of scavenged materials. However, I think this falls in the realm of investment rather than spend. This outdoor space will free up a lot of space inside. It will be much safer as there are no children under foot. I can keep the kitchen neat and tidy and all the messy stuff outside. My back and knees will suffer much less wear and tear. With a space to set the dehydrators I can keep all that heat out of the house at the exact time I don’t want it. Now I have to think of something special for dinner tonight to thank my dear husband for his love and labor and attention to detail. I am so grateful.

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