The season is winding down just like it began. This time a different berry ripening in the sun.
Adventuring through the produce of southern Maryland -- just outside the DC beltway -- has brought a new spirit to our summer this year. I don't expect any of us will soon forget these trips to the nearby orchard, Certainly our photo albums will help. A new tradition born perhaps.
This time it was Paul initiating the trip, motivated by the memory of his Mom's homemade jam and the availability of raspberries and blackberries. The day was perfect for picking, warm but never hot; the low humming of bees arose from every thicket branch.
Never mind that the kids lost interest early on -- scared off by the prickly bramble and the bees -- Paul and I picked as they picnic-ed in the shade and ran among the hedge rows without a care.
And so, with purple knees and fingernails, a bee sting, and having tasted the warm burst of sweetness akin to tiny bunches of concord grapes, we arrived home with three full buckets.
A trip to the local hardware store for jars and The Blue Book and Paul was ready. Ready to approach this job with the same fierce intensity that he applies to any other worthwhile undertaking.
Make no mistake this was his project; with me the happy documentarian.
I was met with the strong scent of raspberries when I woke this morning. The kitchen had become 'operation jam cannery' for nearly five hours today. Dare not interrupt to ask whether the coffee is regular or decaf. Timing was crucial.
Paul's mom was thrilled to learn of the ongoing value of the time spent in her own sweltering kitchen in the '70s, and the lasting impression made by her demonstration of homemade love.
No more Bon Mamam at $5 a pop!
I'd call the entire two day process a success. Paul is satisfied that the pectin did it's job, having already made a gift to the neighbors, and we'll be spreading thick crusty loaves and scones throughout the cold months ahead.
We considered calling it traffic jam, but prefer the more specific alternative.
My other job: making labels. Family Christmas gift # 1 ... done!