Friday, August 1, 2014

jam and other great and unsearchable things

I've been trying for days to write.  I don't know why a simple post about making jam is giving me such trouble.  Making jam, you say?  Yeppers, I'm a jammer now.  Why does this jamming feel so significant?  How many forms of the word jam can I use in one paragraph, jamnit?!

For one thing my new jamness means that I'm turning all domestic in my motherhood and old age (I'm on the cusp of being 30 for goodnessake!)  I bake banana bread, I cook like crazy, and I make jam.  It also means: I have no friends.  (I have friends in my heart, just not in actual real life.)  Not much on the agenda, so it's not much trouble fitting a three hour jam session into the schedule.  And also: I miss my Gram terribly.  The worst times are when I drive or stop by and no one is home, and I wish desperately that she was there to share a cup of tea and my troubles with.  I stand in the kitchen and note which things have changed, and which have stayed the same.  My grandmother, Gram's daughter, lives there now -- and I get mad, because she still has to work so hard, and she's never there to just be there and be Gram.  So I guess doing these simple tasks, like stirring jam bubbling in a pot and pouring it into jars (or gardening -- I'll get to that), connect me to her in a way that helps me feel a little bit better about all of it.

So I sat here {at my new principal's desk -- scored for free at the school and refinished and looking mighty serious and beautiful} for an hour the other night, trying to write about jamming.  Trying first to sort out the thousand thoughts clouding my brain -- trying in particular to disperse the dark, heavy ones menacing my mind lately.  Thoughts and feelings like this, what I did manage to write the other night:

I'm in the middle of the ocean swimming in all of my clothes, and I'm asking myself: Why did you think it would be a good idea to jump off the boat?  And why didn't you take off your jeans and boots and that heavy sweater?  The fact is, I've become exactly who I didn't think I wanted to be.  I've failed.  In so many ways.  Some of them, I know where I went wrong.  Others, I have ideas, but I honestly do not know.  And the worst feeling is: it's too late.  It's all done, there is so much I can't change, and I've pretty much screwed everything up.  At one time I really believed I was someone special, destined for something great, a part of God's plan.  And actually, I still believe that I was.  But then I ignored God's voice too many times and strayed off on my own path and now I'm way out here -- and I can bushwhack in the right direction, but I'll never reach the destination I was meant to.  And that is one dark, heavy feeling.  I think I am good at being a mom, and it's the most fulfilling role I've played.  But maybe that's the only thing I really am good at.

Since this is my online journal, for everyone to see, and since I'm not very good at putting my real feelings out there for others, I'm very tempted to delete that paragraph and move along, but I think that maybe... we all struggle with doubt and feelings of failure?  We all question whether the choices we've made, big or small, were the right ones.  Maybe we all feel a little (or a lot) overwhelmed by life at times.  Maybe just the fact that I'm pondering all this means that I'm closer to the right path than I think?  And maybe I just need to get out of my head and make some jam.

Life is throwing some big questions at me lately, and I've been frequently meditating on this scripture:

Not, "Call to me and I will tell you everything is okay and all of your troubles will disappear," but "Call to me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things."  Whatever they are.  (And by meditating I mean listening to it a lot on Spotify via Seeds Family Worship and taking the words to my heart.)

Some photos of our berrying at Gram's and jamming at home...

A pre-pick picnic:
Black caps.
Owen puts two or three berries into his bowl, then promptly eats them so that it's empty again.  
Bob is a little better at collecting them, but he and I shared a bucket and I suspect I would have filled it a lot faster if he wasn't sneaking handfuls into his mouth.
Red currants and blackcaps.
Currants on the bush.  We picked a lot, but the bushes were still full.  Then the next day the mama turkey and her babies found them and they were all gone.
Nuts and berries: the perfect snack.
Bobby was an excellent de-stemmer for the first batch of jam.
Owen, too, took berries from stems, but he ate them all.
Making jam turned out to be incredibly easy.  Just put the berries in a pot, mash, add sugar, heat on medium while stirring in the sugar, then heat on high, stirring frequently until the berries are seeming jammy (until you dip in your spoon and the last bit of liquid sheets off instead of dripping).  Then pour the jam into sterilized jars (boiled for five minutes).  I save my store bought jelly jars and lids because we use them as drinking glasses, but it also meant I had them on hand for this.  Not sure how long the jam will keep this way, but no matter for us: we eat pb&j like it's going out of style.  Mine came out a little thick, but not in a bad way.
You saw the finished jam in the jars above.  Here it is in action.
And, FYI, pb&j is even better with fresh hot jam.  Duh.

1 comment:

  1. I have *always* thought that you were someone very special Angie. ALWAYS! #FriendsInHeart :)


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