A few years ago my mum came around to see me, carrying some dusty old boxes. I couldn't believe it when I opened them up to find her collection of Fowlers Vacola jars inside, a collection that had actually once been my grandmother's. Oh the life those bottles have had and the work they have done, if only they could talk! Many of my own childhood memories and family history are entwined with those jars. On a hot summers day we would gather around to peel the China Pears and cut the freestone seedling peaches that grew on the farm, the adults carefully coring and seeding them out. Then, with small precise hands that could fit in through the narrow top openings, it would be my job to carefully arrange the fruit in pretty lines. My mother, dressed in her apron, would stand sweaty browed over the hot stove as she boiled sweet syrup. The hot liquid then poured over the fruit before the jars were sealed and put in the big old pot.
Over this last weekend, we put those dear old bottles to work once again, creating all new memories for the next generation of our family. The children ran happily around us and watched as we worked to put 30 kilograms of tomatoes away for another year. This season they'll carry the children's favourite tomato sauce/ketchup, our family pasta sauce and some tomato passata to warm our stews on a cold winter's night. Oh those wonderful bottles and the job they do, feeding our bodies as well as our souls. I have a sneaking suspicion those bottles have many more years of good work to do yet.