If you enjoy sewing, cooking, gardening, and crafting and you read other people’s blogs about it, you will pretty much feel like everyone does it better than you. In particular, all the Mormon moms who have three little kids, a fourth on the way, and they still seem to be able to whip up a quilt during nap time every day, plus can all their own preserves, plus a million other things. It’s frankly maddening and I have to be virtually slapped across the face many times by my friends for my bemoaning how much better they are than me and why can’t I do that?
Well, I’m not saying they are lying, but I have also had friends comment to me that reading my blog makes it seem like I am also able to do it all well. And since I know that’s not true, it really is a lesson all about appearances. Am I going to write a post that talks about getting so mad at my kids that I yell at them until my throat hurts? No, I am not. I am only going to put up the prettiest, funnest, neatest pictures and even they can sometimes be an illusion. Let’s see that in action.
Although it was a million degrees yesterday we have air conditioning, so why not make jam? I’m trying to make good on my resolve this year to go ahead and make jams and preserves out of fruit that is in season that I did not grow. So I bought a couple of big containers of New Jersey blueberries and made some jam. Isn’t it such a beautiful color??
Now, here’s the reality of those pictures.
The Windsock: What you don’t see is that I said, “Here,Tabby, would you like to do your craft from the library?” and she excitedly said yes. I got out the glue and literally all you had to do with glue the crepe paper streamers to the cup, which already had the string attached. She did about half before she said, “you do the rest” and ran away. So I did.
For some reason every single plum has a sticky rotten spot covering about a quarter of it. We will have to figure out why that is happening because it’s ruining them all and is very distressing. We’ve also discovered (may be related) a strange fungus (Paul looked it up) on some branches that requires cutting those branches off.
The Jam: The jam. Sigh. Here’s what you can’t tell from the artful photos. I think the Ball canning guide may have steered me wrong for the first time. Their enthusiastic instruction to just quickly cook it until it gels, without any pectin added, just did not work out. And I know jam has a lot of sugar in proportion to the fruit
but it did seem too sweet to me. So what I’ve got is four big jars of essentially blueberry syrup. Now, fair enough, it is pretty delicious. And the seals did seal. We all enjoyed spooning it onto bread and I may make pancakes this morning and put it on that. It won’t go to waste, but it’s not what I intended. Other things the pictures don’t show:
- Clark shouting incessantly from the other room, “Can I play on the computer? Now? Now? When? When can I play on the computer?” and me being irritated that that was all he wanted to do
- Tabby standing on her chair to watch me, leaning forward and falling straight towards the stove which had the bubbling hot pot of sugar and fruit and the big pot of boiling water. She crashed to the ground, broke the chair, was totally unhurt or fazed, and I nearly had a heart attack.
- Bringing a big pot of water to boil, rather than the giant canning pot, because I thought I was using small jars and making just a few so surely they would fit. Going to put them in the boiling water bath and seeing that they did not. Fortunately I was able to grab another pot, dump the water in, and get it going pretty quickly. But I did remember to add vinegar to the water so my glass stayed shiny and clean.
So there you have it. Things aren’t always quite what they appear to be–a lesson I need to remember! Now here’s a beautiful picture that has no backstory, no hidden flaws. My gladiola are blooming and they are lovely 🙂
*as I write this Paul just said to Tabby, “That’s a beautiful windsock, did you make that?” and she was so pleased and said “yes! mommy helped me!” Well, now I can’t be cross about that 🙂