I didn’t learn to can food from my grandmothers. That knowledge came from books and mentors, was pulled from the great Out There where such wisdom resides, waiting for whomever comes looking. From these women I inherited my eyes and nose, a hefty dose of sentimentality, and faith in the unseen. When I think of the generations of grandmothers stretching back into time, it makes me a bit dizzy, as when I gaze up at the Milky Way and try to fathom how big the universe really is. Each ancestor in my lineage–and yours, too–faced unique challenges on both the personal and cultural level. Like us they found ways to celebrate, to love their families, and to forge onward. A few nights ago, when the moon was bright and fat through the apple branches, I put a serving of dinner out among the fallen leaves. I spooned a helping of apple sauce made from that very tree on top, and said a short prayer of thanks. It went like this: Thank you, thank you, thank you for this good life we lead. May we use it well.