We made sour cherry jam. So far, there have been 23 little jars. Next, there might be rhubarb jam. And a few rhubarb platz.

Can you tell that my work world got turned upside down? I can, not only because there was no strawberry picking this year. This is the first time in quite possibly the last ten years that I’ve not gone. Instead, we raided the back yard cherry tree, and made the jam right away. Apparently, I had stashed adequate sugar, jar sealer lids, and pectin.

The job at the garden centre is now a thing of the past, and I’m adjusting to the new career choice of dining room supervisor at the senior residence that I’ve taken on.

Wow. What a departure from the world of green and growing retail. Instead, I’m organizing a dining room, and scheduling a roster of 47 serving staff. So many things to do and remember. So many things to prioritize and document. I’m going to start writing a server manual, and keep organizing the details that are popping up over the course of my day. It’s pretty wonderful, and very busy.

I’m only going as far as my back yard and freezer to do any preserving this summer. My new work schedule is from 10 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening, and that means that stuff at home gets done early in the morning or late at night. Including supper and blog posts, ironing and clothes washing; and of course, marathon jam making sessions on the weekend!

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A thought that crossed my path last night:

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. E.M. Forster

So many things changed over the course of the fall and winter seasons. I started a new job, found a wonderful knitting group, made new friends, and got used to a new routine. We also lost our hound, the thought of which still brings on the tears. A quick and harsh diagnoses of lymphoma cancer.

The many chains of events that bring us to the place we are seem to happen just as a matter of course. I am grateful for the day and the daughter who suggested the new job; just as much as I am grateful for the hound still with us.

Take life as it comes, we are told. And as an old hymn suggests:

Keep me traveling along with you.

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The instant (not to mention hot, and so very, very dry) summer-like weather has me thrown completely off kilter. At least, that’s what I’m blaming for now.

I started back at my summer job at the end of April, and that groove has been a hard time coming. Spring was cold and late, the rabbits ate all my backyard, and half of the front yard looks terrible. I miss the folks at the “old folks home” and I’m having a hard time with the new schedule of the evening shift at work. I had some difficult customers at work, and I’m just not feeling the retail part of it anymore.

Ok? (It sounds worse than it is. I’m such a whiner.)

But last Monday, when the Starlite apple-crab was in full bloom, we had a birthday party for my oldest, my now 21 year old. It was a very low-key, very nice barbecue later in the day, and the guests (all family) behaved themselves for once, and the evening was short and sweet.

We’ll have to do it again in June, when the youngest turns 18. Right before her graduation. Wayyyyy too much happening in the next month, but so much good stuff, too.

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unplanned absence and return

I had to answer a question from the past yesterday, and realized that I had the best answer available on the blog. And hello again.

The unplanned absence was a direct result of “just not feelin’ it” and the resulting posts from most of 2017 sure showed it. I think I’m back…I hope I’m back. The blog was a happy, interesting place, and in reading between and through the lines (as only I can) has brought back memories of stories not shared, as well. Good times that will still remain unpublished!

The last eight months were busy at a new job, one that I have put on hold temporarily as I make a short return to the garden centre for the summer. I’m happy to be wearing my Aussie-made shade hat for the summer, in exchange for the hair net that I sported all winter; but I’ll be happy to make the trade back again in August.

I got hired on at an independent-living senior facility back in October, as morning staff to prepare and serve brunch. It was a job that I looked forward to every morning, and winter just flew by. A huge bonus was that I got to walk to work every morning, and walk home almost every afternoon as well. The weather was mostly wildly cold for the entire winter, and I learned not to wear mascara on the way to work, as my eyelashes would frost over and the mascara would be smeared all over my face at the end of the half-hour trek! By the time April rolled around, I was taking my bike to work and zipping over the frozen puddles. My cross-country ski mitts were the warmest and most wind-proof accessory for the 10 minute ride. It so was lovely working so close to home!

It was a great job that also gave me ample knitting time in the afternoons, and two sweaters got completely finished over the winter. One for Elena, one for the head chef’s new baby, and another three that are for me, and not quite finished yet!

There was sad, too, which can keep for later; and everything else in between.

And that’s it, that’s all for now, folks!

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so you stole my watermelon


…and then came back for the pumpkins. When you found they were already harvested (by me) you decided to take a knife, cut off a perfectly emerald green pumpkin (one of the only two left) and leave it where I was sure to see it. Right at the entrance to my garden.


The buttercup squash all came home. Like, right then and there. Unfortunately, the butternut is not ready yet, so all I can hope is that they took out the frustration on the pumpkin, and will leave the squash alone.

I can’t stop gardening. Fresh beans? Huge, homegrown cabbage that cost me pennies? Juicy garden tomatoes? All the stuff that I love anticipating for harvest. So, even though that last passive/aggressive retaliatory action really did feel like a slap to the face, it’s still my garden and I’m going to keep doing it.

The rest of my day will be spent enjoying my other hobby. I’m off to a wool/fibre festival to learn about sheep fleece and do some shopping. Bizarrely enough, I have a love/hate relationship with these sort of gatherings, because while I love the farming and sheep aspect, and the end product, the concept of “artisan” encapsulates issues and an attitude that I’m not altogether comfortable with. I just want to knit. And spin. And learn, and love what I make.

Which is why I think I have to start being more accepting of the artisans, and the obsessive knitters. They love what they do…they just take it to another level. Can’t exactly attend wearing a t-shirt that says, “Moderation is the key to happiness” while another person sport a shirt that says, “I knit to stay sane.”

In other ramblings, and happy mom-news, Sonja has actually flat-out said that she finds her university agriculture courses interesting. I’m thrilled, of course. Applied science is always interesting, but she was, I suspect, worried that it would bring her to tears of boredom and be a complete slog for the next three years. And with a new focus, I hope she will be happier with university in general.

The weather has suddenly, drastically turned to fall as of yesterday. It feels horrifyingly cold and it makes me feel like I should frantically bring all my tomatoes off the garden. Of course, there was that one year where September was crap weather and October was glorious, so I think I’ll just cool my heels and put on a sweater for now. On gloomy mornings like today, I am going light my incense, and plug in a good audio book while I clean the kitchen. And then it’s off to all things wooly before a very busy weekend.

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now september

I have been doing, doing, doing, chipping away at to-do lists, and still feeling like so much to be done. I don’t know if that is a September thing or not.

A subsequent trip to the garden revealed that someone else had been doing my harvesting for me, and they walked away with almost every watermelon and cantaloupe. Harsh, but realistic for where I garden. I cut my losses and took my three pumpkins home with me that day. They were completely orange, and a large, easy target.

The squash are untouched, so far, and they usually stay that way. When we were in Italy last October, the girls ended up taking them off the garden for me; worried about frost.

With the day’s getting shorter, it feels like there is so much more to do, and so much less time in which to do it. The clear off date for the garden (October 15) seems to come faster every year. Of course, it doesn’t help that the tomatoes are just ripening in September.

Just to think…the tomatoes are ripening in September, and the pumpkins are already off the garden. What a strange summer.

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this day


*** A beautiful day for a bike ride with Elena. I took her a little over half-way along my bike ride to work. It was the first time she got to ride my commute, and she was impressed with me; yes, there are hills on that route!

*** The asters are not quite blooming, but the pumpkins are turning orange. The squash at the garden is amazing. My plan to minimize weeding at the garden was successful…the squash plants got huge!

*** The fireworks at the baseball game on Tuesday were spectacular. And our team won the game in a nail biter, too.

*** There was so little rain this summer, but the tomato plants still did well. That fresh, garden tomato flavour is indescribable.

*** One more week of beautiful summer!

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