Monday, July 26, 2021

Salsa Garden

Let's set up some raised beds, she said.

I can use one as my salsa garden, she said.

It will be great to grow my own ingredients, she said. 

It will work best to have all the plants in one spot, she said. 

Egads, my friends, those are four tomato plants, one of which - I think - is just a cherry tomato. Because in June, it looked like I had plenty of room for four tomato plants. In June, those plants were small and manageable, full of the promise of producing fruit. 

Actual fruit.

Not limbs and leaves. Which, at the moment, is all I have. Oh, and blossoms. There are blossoms. 

I found one large green tomato lying in the grass last week. It escaped. It flung itself out of the jungle and now it's sitting in solitary confinement on my window sill. Desperately seeking ripeness.

The good news is my peppers - both green and jalapeno (the plants on the left in the picture) are growing just fine. At the moment. But those creepy arms of the tomato plants are reaching...reaching...reaching... 

Plus my cilantro was ready to use about a week after I planted it. 

Fourteen years, people. Fourteen years I have lived on this property and have planted gardens and grown plants. You'd think I'd have some idea by now how to do this successfully. 

But no. 

Every year, I add another notch to my "experimental gardener" belt and simply wait to be surprised at what grows, what thrives and what appears. 

Kale and romaine lettuce. That's what thrives. The leafy stuff.

I get salad when all I want is salsa. 


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Jam Time


I made four batches of strawberry jam this year because I now use so much of it for thank you gifts and in care packages. My friends love to receive a jar of homemade jam, and nothing says, "Love you! Thinking of you!" better than a jar of Nova Scotia strawberry jam. 

I'll send two large bottles down to Georgia for my sister's family at Christmas, and my best friend, Sarah, gets a large jar every year on her birthday. When I showed her this picture, she said, "I love your jam so much, I don't care if there's cat hair in it!" 

Now that's a good friend. 


Now, honestly, there is no fear of cat hair in the jam. I don't pick the cats up when I'm cooking/baking/jamming, and I wipe all the berries off with a wet cloth before smushing them. 

After the jam was all made and this box was empty, I put it down on the floor and the cats lie in it every so often. Cats and boxes, I tell you - it's definitely a thing in our house. 

But better than the cute photos is the fact that every time I make strawberry jam, I know that my mother taught me to do this. I still use the equipment she used and I like that continuity. I'm not really a resister of change, because I've experienced too much to try and hold it back, but it's nice when some things don't change, like recipes and old pots and cats sitting in boxes. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Finally, It's Summer!

In the park by the harbour in Pugwash.

You know you're busy when you don't write for three weeks -- and it's past the middle of July before you have your first ice cream cone of the season! 

Crazy times. I worked most of June, then had an online writing program for ten days in July, then was asked if it was possible for The Alphabet of Faith (my next book) to be ready for the fall. Thanks to Nova Scotia's lockdown in May, I had all the pieces to a second draft so I said yes, and spent three very intense days editing and tweaking and putting the book together to submit. 

And get this: the designer for the publisher contacted me to say he read my book, Field Notes, shortly after it was published! Talk about a small world. He lives in British Columbia but has property in Bear River (down by Digby) so he obviously was in the province when Field Notes released. I can't believe I have that kind of connection with the person who will design my next book -- a book that has a rather creative format (not traditional essays in paragraph form), and he is quite happy to work with that format. 

So the ice cream was a reward for getting the book submitted but the flavour -- which I've never had before because look at those weird ice cream colours! -- was research for a poem I'm working on featuring Moon Mist flavour, a flavour that is unique to the East Coast. 

And the ice cream tasted amazing! The colours taste wonderful and it's my new favourite flavour.

I love when job when the research involves puppies and ice cream!