It all started on the drive back from General assembly in Phoenix. We turned off Interstate 5 to head up over the Pacheco Pass, and soon Carol turned the car into a roadside fruit stand. “This is the one,” she said. Some of the apricot trees hung over the parking area, and the owner of the stand charged just fifty cents a pound for fruit she picked from the parking lot. She must have picked ten or fifteen pounds of apricots. I’m vaguely allergic to apricots; I ate half a dozen, got the beginnings of a little itchy rash, and that was then end of my apricot season. But Carol’s apricot season was just beginning.
When we got home, the kitchen was soon dominated by jam-making. On the counter near the stove were pectin, canning jars, jar lids, and bags of sugar. On the stove sat a big pot for cooking fruit and another big pot for sterilizing jars. On the counter on the other side of the sink was the big bag of fruit waiting to be processed. Before long, all that fruit had been cooked into jam, and Carol got some more cheap apricots at a farmer’s market, and made more jam. Jars full of deep orange apricot jam sat cooling on the kitchen counter, and every once in a while one would make a little “tink” sound as the lid sealed into place.
Apricot season is coming to an end. Soon there will be no more bowls full of apricot pits in the kitchen, waiting to be put on the compost pile; there will be no more jars cooling on the counter, and no more “tink” sounds at unexpectedly moments; no more orange drips of jam in odd places. The kitchen will return to normal. Two or three dozen jars of jam now sit quietly in the kitchen closet waiting to be given away and eaten. And we’ll wait for apricot season to return again next year.