I’ve been writing – quite a lot – until this past week, when some publishing business and some family business took me away from the manuscript for a bit. What has happened in that time out and about is so gratifying, and it all has to do with bounty. My sense of gratefulness and awe at what has been given me is quite large this week, with three sources of that gratitude.
I broke 10,500 blog visits last week. My stats page shows what’s happening with the blog.This is stunning to me, though for some that’s small potatoes. For me, the bounty is that of conversation and connection. I count it as gift when others can be moved to read my work. It never fails to astonish me.
I was going to keep this mum and not talk about it until we gift the result of our labors to family at Christmas, but now is when I am thinking of our fathers and the legacy they each left.
My father, who watched particular chokecherry stands in the mountains of eastern Oregon and traveled miles to pick them at perfection for a syrup he made which, when drizzled on ice cream, caused a particular light to ignite in his eyes. I can still see his jelly bag, suspended between two chairs. I wish I had it now.
My husband’s father, who grew so many things in his enormous garden, who put up quarts of tomatoes and fruits, and pints and pints of marionberry and other jams over the years. The last jar is nearly gone now. He planted grape vines ages ago, and never got to see their bounty, this year’s yield the first of any note, bunches of grapes drooping from vines half as big around as my wrist. We picked those vines for Mom this past weekend, grapes perfect globes of dusky purple, the sunny yard smelling like our favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when we were kids.
We filled coolers and buckets and bags, and after we’d washed and stemmed them, we had more than 35 pounds of fruit to process.
I have an event to prepare for this weekend, copies to make, a craft to finish, some promotional materials to create. But fruit calls. It does not wait.
Ready to juice. Only jammed the juicer three times. 4 pounds of fruit yields 7 cups of juice, did you know that? It’s purple. Very, very purple.
This is not nearly enough jars.
I’ve never made grape jelly, until yesterday.
The view from here. Beauty takes time. Seven hours on my feet= 16 half pints of jelly.
Bounty has its price, and this is one I gladly pay, for it’s honoring our fathers and their love of eating well. It’s honoring the harvest and the fullness of growing things.
Books: Two exciting events are coming, and both make me feel rich with the opportunity of experience!
Tonight, I’ll put the jelly pan aside and go to see Aaron Becker. I am so excited to meet this amazing author of a beloved wordless picture book as he launches its sequel.
It’s with great pride that I will introduce myself as a member of the Nerdy Book Club. I’m excited to see Quest and get a copy of it and of Journey for my own collection. I’m giddy.
One of the books which informed my creation of Kate as a character, which provided perspective in the conflict she must have lived, is a work by Charles P. LeWarne called Utopias on Puget Sound, about the Socialist Colonies established in the late 1800s in Washington State, a place of free thinkers, open to new ideas.
Through some magical and wonderful occurrences (you should write letters to people – just saying), I get to meet Mr. LeWarne in a few weeks, to show him my photos, artifacts from the Burley Store, Kate’s textiles and her diary. I am more excited than I can say about this connection, and about his response to my note to him. He seems pretty excited, too.
Bounty. Conversations and connections, harvest, books. Three lovely things.