playing catch-up

My mom emailed me. “Are you on strike?” And then Girlfriend From Burkina Faso was all like WRITE SOMETHING ALREADY.

Nothing is wrong, I explained. I’m just weary from constant canning.

You and me both, son. You and me both. 

“You know what I need?” I whined to my husband. “I need two full days to myself. No kids. No canning. No nothing. Actually, wait. I have a better idea. Could we till up the garden this weekend? The whole thing—boom—gone? I think that might fix me.”

Just the thought of NO GARDEN makes me want to go fly a kite. Or at least write a blog post.


You know what irony is? I’ll tell you what irony is. Irony is deciding to pre-order a book for the first time ever because you just don’t want to mess with the hassle of borrowing it from the library and then, within a couple hours of receiving the book, turning it into the library and spending the next couple days trying to get it back out. That’s irony folks, served up nice and tart.


Last night I served the Ladymaids (because they don’t want to be called Milkmaids anymore and until we come up with a new name, this is it) a plum torte. It was a new recipe and we agreed that the pastry part was a bit on the choking side of dry. Today I made another plum torte and it is infinitely better. (This recipe, but with halved plums pressed into the top.)

The torte done right.

I should probably write the Ladymaids an apology for serving them inferior goods.


My daughter has three puppies left. I’m threatening to do unkind things (to them, to her, to the whole world) if she doesn’t get rid of them soon, but truth is, I don’t mind all that much. They are infinitely sweet, and, contrary to what I expected, they appear to be getting cuter.

The puppies are forbidden in the house, but every so often the whole pack comes barreling through the (mysteriously left) open door. I secretly love watching them skid through the kitchen and around chair legs, their pink tongues lapping the air, jolly eyes shining.


I am on a good book streak. There was The Glass Castle (can anyone diagnose the mother for me?), followed by Carry On, Warrior. Now I’m reading Still Alice (messes with my mind, it does). Next up is my pre-ordered-and-yet-to-be-retrieved-from-the-library Home Grown.


I burned down my in-box. Not because it bothered me, but because Jamie told me to. It didn’t make me feel noticeably happier. I believe it requires something a bit more substantial—LIKE BURYING THE ENTIRE GARDEN—to get my buzz on.


This. Is. Perfect. The part about what to eat? It’s us. Completely. (Except we don’t order out because of the country living and all.)

This same time, years previous: regretful wishing, roasted tomato and garlic pizza sauce, 2012 garden stats and notes, rainy day writing, how to clean a room, blasted cake, almond cream pear tart, fruit-on-the-bottom baked oatmeal, grilled salmon with lemon butter, a quick rundown, the big night, and say cheese!


  • Anonymous

    So glad you're back! Really, when a blogger takes a break, there should be some sort of "code" they can post to let us know nothing is wrong! Now, my post thoughts…..I really liked Glass Castle, but it was so sad and depressing. Enter Half Broke Horses by the same author. Just what I needed! If you haven't read it yet, I urge you to! Still Alice haunts me, though. But, I do think it's a "need to read" for everyone. From: Lauralli (comment publish won't let me use just my name without a URL. Though it has before. ??

  • Camille

    I thought you were away. Turns out you were snowed in…under an avalanche of produce. Of course…why didn't I guess that? Hugs, Camille

  • Margo

    you have to make Marian Burros' famous plum cake!!! It's on Smitten Kitchen and it's divine – similar to the one you made before and blogged about. I reviewed it on my recipe verdicts board on Pinterest (do you ever go on Pinterest any more?).

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Borderline Personality Disorder was my guess. I loved The Glass Castle.

    Also, you still have puppies? I wish I didn't know that.

  • Rebecca

    I just got my copy of Home Grown. So, why DID you send it to the library? And, yes, the thing standing between me and perfect serenity is the danged garden. Before the tilling, though, I would need a serious session with the brush hog. Honestly, how did it get so out of control?

    • Jennifer Jo

      My older daughter was collecting the books to return to the library and thought MY BRAND NEW BOOK belonged to the library. The book ended up on the director's desk and she said (over the phone) it caught her eye—it looked like something she'd want to read—so now I'm hoping that maybe the library will purchase a copy? Perhaps that's the silver lining?

      As of last night, all the potatoes are dug and my husband mowed down the garden. We're that much closer to tilling it under!

  • karen

    I too am entirely canned out, but really in love with the full jars. The neighbour's tree is laden with apple pears (asian) and I'm going to make a jelly or jam next, and then I'll tackle the grapes. Holy am I so tired.

    So rather than dig up the garden (as it so desperately needs) I wandered off to take a 3 day storytelling workshop at our Fringe Festival. Now I'm beyond tired, and I've had wine. Wow.

    Thanks for the puppy tales. I love being in on your secret.

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