Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Making Jam

I have learned something new!  I am so proud of myself!! 


I learned to make jam!  I was raised on the farm and always watched as my grandmothers canned pickles, peaches, beets.....etc. etc.   They did it all.  Made cucumbers into pickles, made chow chow, took corn off the cob.   Any number of weird things you can imagine they have done it. (pickled peaches is the strangest thing to me)  I never really had time or interest in doing any of these things until recently.  I am not sure what came over me, but something did.  Maybe it is that canning is an aging process that doesn't happen on a regular basis.  Maybe I feel that the art of canning is being lost.  I don't know something weird definitely came over me.  As I drive down the street now, it is as if I have some sort of fruit radar.  I look constantly in search of fruit trees.  Wondering if I can preserve it. ????? I know weird right.  I feel it too.  Anyway I made two types of jam, Sand plum and Apricot. 

I had a friend that gave me a little instruction on how it works but boy I couldn't believe how complicated it all seemed at first.  I had my fruit all picked, washed, run through the sieve. (not sure how to spell that, never used one until now)  I was ready to go. Sure-jell bought, jars washed, seals heated, sugar measured, fruit cooked.
  IMG_3966 IMG_3972

The next few steps seemed to be critical.  Bring to boil, add sugar, boil only one minute.  Not a second longer!  Very important. Don't know why but my friend stressed this point strongly.

This is a picture of the finished product.  Yes, they are upside down.  I forgot to take a picture once I turned them back over. 


Oh, and it is delicious!!! I can't help but brag.  I am proud!


How many will survive?

After all the rain that we have received this week the neighborhood has lots of water puddles.  Over the holiday weekend, Parker spent the majority of his time outdoors playing with friends.  Parker is definitely an outdoors man.  He loves to be out playing.  We literally have to force the boy in to bathe and eat in the evening.  When he came home, he walked in with a Dr. Pepper can.   I asked him what are you doing with that can.  With that he responds it is Aric's.  He started heading toward to the bedroom and I said no you are not going in there with that pop can.  He said well mom I have to do something with it.  Do something with what?  I am now wondering what he is up to.  I soon find out that the boys have discovered frog eggs in some of the puddles.  He was planning on putting them in his aquarium in his room where the salamander lives.  When I found out what the plan was I quickly sent him out the door.  I don't care where you put the eggs but not in the house.  I don't even know how he knew that they were frog eggs.  After I sent him back out he was a little upset.  I followed him out and he said, Mom, I just can't let all of them die.  I have to find somewhere for them to live.   I told him put them in the bird bath. 

At first when he dumped the can there were probably 20 eggs.   By the end of the day there were more like 100.  I am not sure that there are really that many but lets just say there were a lot more.  He decided that he would collect all he could in case the puddles all dry up.

Yesterday when I came home for lunch, I drive into the driveway to find both of my children in the middle of the flowerbed, gazing into the bird bath.  As I get out of my car I am greeted with loud exclamations of the eggs have hatched mom, LOOK!!!!  Sure enough it is full of tadpoles.  When I looked at them I thought they might be mosquitoes.  I told the kids I wasn't sure if they were tadpoles but Parker said "MOM, They ARE Tadpoles, I PROMISE!"   When I came home from work today, Chris told me to look in the birdbath. He said look at all of those swimming around.  I  looked and I am guessing that they are tadpoles.  They now look more like a tadpole than mosquitoes.  I guess we will se what the next few days bring for them but what I really am worried about now is how many frogs will survive.  How many of these little guys will I have around this time next week?


Summer Reading


I love to read.  I always have some type of book with me.  I usually read fiction.  Sometimes I read other stuff, but mostly fiction.  I decided recently that I would try something different.  I would try reading the 100 Greatest Books.   The list is made up of several books that I have heard of but never  took the time to read.  In high school and English Lit. in college we were always reading books to write reports on. They always had us reading something for education purposes.  I never enjoyed this reading nearly as much.

The first book off of the list that I read was Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.  I really don't want to offend anyone or ruin anyone's day.  It is strictly my opinion, but I didn't care for this book.  I read it to see what happens in the end, to find out what happened to the main characters.  I don't know what makes this one of the 100 Greatest Books.

I'm not a literary expert so maybe I am missing something.   I have moved on now to reading Anna Karenina.  Maybe I need instruction.  Who knows.   It is a little different than what I expected.  I have carried it around for too long, but I will finish it.  Even if is seems like torture.  I really had the intention of reading all of the 100.  But after the first two, I may not make it.  I may go back to reading the fun stuff instead of all the serious books.