Sunday, September 6, 2015

stopping time, moving forward

tart cherry preserves - a taste of my childhood!

Ugh. Once again, where has the time gone? Well. I have been making things and taking photos all this long, hot, dry summer. I just haven't taken the next step of culling and editing photos and posting. I also feel like I've barely been keeping my head above water with the making.

Part of it's the heat; look at the grass in that top photo - little straw-twigs! This summer was a prolonged battle of attrition to try and keep the garden alive. It was more work and money than it was worth and eventually I threw up my hands and said, "I give up."

It was the right choice. And now that some more seasonable weather has returned (three good drenching storms in a 3-week period), I feel like I've had a little more time to gather myself and get things done. So I sat down yesterday morning and culled a bunch of photos to put together a couple of posts.

I found tart cherries at the U District Farmer's Market (thanks to a tip from my awesome neighbour) and made preserves - well, more of a low-sugar pie filling, really. I was only able to get 2 lbs of cherries, so these won't be shared, because after you remove the pits, the 2 lbs have pretty much become 1 lb and it's just not enough!! These are for turnovers or eating on English muffins this fall, and reminisces about the mature tart cherry tree I grew up with. (More on that in a moment.)

blackcurrant preserves!

At one point this summer, I walked into Ballard Market and there were flats of blackcurrants for just $10. I took one and went through the laborious process of picking all the bits of stems and flower ends off them - and then I made delightful blackcurrant jam. I have given lots of these away already, sharing the bounty, but there should be a few left at the holidays. I also baked the leftover preserves (when I ran out of jars to pack them into) into a completely heavenly vegan coffee cake (I had some stress this summer and my doctor ordered me off dairy - it took about three weeks for things to level out, and I started getting creative with the vegan baking). 

And now, back to that little note about the cherry tree of my childhood. I've bought one for my own garden: a Northstar. It's supposedly self-dwarfing, only growing 8-10' tall and wide, able to be netted and harvested without a giant ladder, resistant to cracking and brown rot, and when mature, producing plenty of fruit for a family of four. We only have two in our family, but I definitely eat more than my fair share of tart cherries - as a child and teen, these were the only fruits I would eat to the point of allergic reaction: when my grandparents visited and my grandpa brought jars of tart cherry sauce, I'd eat it all day ... until I broke out in hives on my wrists and inner forearms. I'd take a cold shower and put on calamine lotion before bed ... and in the morning I'd start all over again - no regrets!!

And where will we put this tart cherry tree? Well, we'll put it in our new garden that we're going to build ... in our new home. Cass and I have become homeowners - finally! - for the first time in our lives. I expect the tone of this blog will shift toward more decorating, gardening, and home repair/upgrade projects in the future, but for now we're living in boxes as we can't start moving until Tuesday.

And maybe the new home will be just the prod I need to get back into the swing of things here. Let's hope so - because Pacific Rain has been languishing this summer!!


Carolyn Williams said...

Yay! I'm so glad to see you're writing a little on here again. And Then They... languished a bit this summer, too. I'm so happy this autumn weather is bring creativity back to me.

Anonymous said...

[Shurangama Sutra]
[The Diamond Sutra]
[The Heart Sutra]

~oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ~

/Six samsara /
/Cause and effect/
/Engages in introspection sees the nature/
/Do not beg abhiññā/



The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha upon attaining Enlightenment, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra are:
To illuminate countless realms with his radiance, enabling anyone to become a Buddha just like him.
To awaken the minds of sentient beings through his light of lapis lazuli.
To provide the sentient beings with whatever material needs they require.
To correct heretical views and inspire beings toward the path of the Bodhisattva.
To help beings follow the Moral Precepts, even if they failed before.
To heal beings born with deformities, illness or other physical sufferings.
To help relieve the destitute and the sick.
To help women who wish to be reborn as men achieve their desired rebirth.
To help heal mental afflictions and delusions.
To help the oppressed be free from suffering.
To relieve those who suffer from terrible hunger and thirst.
To help clothe those who are destitute and suffering from cold and mosquitoes."

Jennifer Z. said...

Congratulations on your new home! I'm sure your tart cherry tree will be very happy there, as well as the two of you.