Friday, June 28, 2013

Strawberry pilgrimage

It had been years, according to the date on the top of my jam jars. The last time I made strawberry jam was 2009, if that can be believed-- and apparently when I did I made enough to last us four years. Strawberry jam is something our household should never be without, so Wednesday I made the journey. A little over 15 pounds of berries, 27 half-pints of jam, a gallon sliced in the freezer, plus five cups leftover to eat fresh (perhaps alongside the truffles Patrick gave me for our anniversary).

It took me some time-- it always does-- to get back in the rhythm of canning. This being the first production session of the season, I found myself dawdling, being inefficient, and eventually re-remembering all those good lessons of kitchen multitasking I forget between October and July, every year.

In other news, I have a trunk full of perennials to get in the ground (Anninursery! A few weeks late, but still my favorite holiday of the year). Patrick took me to my favoritest garden center, the kind where they have variegated hydrangeas and all the plants have highfalutin names like Black Snow and Princess Chiffon, and let me pick out a passel. Connivingly, the garden center offers 10% off when you buy six, so as a result I have a variegated sedum, a new fern, a wild bleeding heart, a plum-purple heuchera, a hellebore, and an astrantia (that last one is new to me).

Fittingly, the house front is looking a little finer every day. Two weeks ago:

This morning:

Well, um, I'm gonna go cry now, because those yellow spindles and brackets took me a whole week to paint, front and back, up and down, and you can barely notice it in the photos. It's visible in person, though, let me tell you. And yesterday I climbed out the second story window (onto the porch roof) and started pulling down the soffit, and scraping the siding. I won't say it was easy, but the paint was definitely letting go more readily on those flat expanses of clapboard (vs. those pesky porch spindles!) Oh, jobs. My fingers are crossed that I will make it through this project without getting stung by wasps or hornets, without running off the edge of the porch roof to escape said wasps or hornets, and with money left over to afford the new wood we're going to have to buy to replace the rotting eaves. Fingers crossed.

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