Sunday, August 21, 2011


Laura Ingalls Wilder spoke of her joy in receiving a set of books, one dull and endless season, when she was alone all day and expecting a child:

"On a day when she was particularly blue and unhappy, the neighbor to the west, a bachelor living alone, stopped as he was driving by and brought a partly filled grain sack to the house. When Laura opened the door, Mr. Sheldon stepped inside, and taking the sack by the bottom, poured the contents out on the floor. It was a paper-backed set of Waverley novels. . .

And now the four walls of the close, overheated house opened wide . . ." --The First Four Years

And though it’s certainly never dull here, and the days are quite filled-to-the-brim, I know how she felt---that bubble of excitement welling from the prospect of new horizons, new adventures, new and unexpected moments with an old friend.

A big snap-top lug of these was carted down the stairs and set ceremoniously upon the breakfast table, where I delved in like a kid on Christmas, smiling and murmuring and exclaiming at the boundless hours of reading awaiting.   They belong to my friend Lil, and I’ve already stashed them on a shelf of their own, easy to hand by my favorite chair.

And did I say we made preserves?   The colors were so exquisite, and I wish my photo skills were equal to the beautiful of them.   I expecially love the out-of-focusness of this one, for it’s like gazing out a stained-glass window on a particularly bright Sunday, sort of hazing your eyes to drink in the colors of the glass as you listen to the message, dazzled by both at once.

Just click on the picture and sorta go cross-eyed for the full effect.

And that amazing, jewelly pink syrup, captured in the morning sun:

There are blueberry, blackberry, red and golden raspberry, all made at her house and brought as a gift, and then some of the fig preserves and preserved figs we made here.   

And that’s my VERY LAST WORD about canning.   And figs.

Until moirĂ© non about our own unexpected little hour, just us three, spent on a pleasantly surprising Cheese Course.

7 comments: said...

Yes books are treasures to be savored slowly. As are the jams and jellies and preserves put up in the terrible heat of summer. Of course you forget about the misery of the heat and the utility bill from the air working overtime, when you serve these on a hot biscuit in the cold of winter.

Patsy said...

Your jam's are beautiful and I must read some of the books.

Justabeachkat said...

Just thinking about homemade jams and jellies AND hot buttered biscuits is making me drool! LOL


Tonja said...

I think I commented on this, but I don't see it, so maybe I didn't. Or maybe I did and it just went the way of the internet... the books and the preserves! YUMM!

Jeanne said...

Hello dear Rachel, This is a post I can identify with about reading and making jam. I have loved reading since I was small and I wish I took more time to read now. I relish and love a good book.

My daughter Christina and I dearly love to make jam and make tons of it every summer. My other daughters just love to eat it. HA! This summer we didn't make as much and we are making plans to make more this fall when we head to Fl. for the Gator football games. Your jam put the biggest smile on my face. It is truly beautiful. My family love the jam we make as I know yours does as well. There is something so satisfying about making homemade preserves. We jam makers rock huh?

Enjoy the fruits of your labor my dear blogging friend.

Cape Coop said...

Look at all I've missed of late- your life has been full of COLOR and joy! I've skittled here from your more recent post about your little sweetpea and the magic of film.
I hope to can something, someday. I've never canned a thing, imagine that!
And, more importantly, I hope to have a little sweetpea, to share the world with, as you are so blessed to do.

Kim S. said...

A friend bearing gifts of books and fruit to preserve and her own special self. What riches!