Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bits and Pieces

(Now bring us some figgy pudding. Photo credit: The Man)

I can't believe I haven't posted all week. Maybe it's just because I have only tiny things to tell you. Will, for instance, has learned how to make friendship bracelets, and he's started collecting the Mint 50 States quarters. My older brother collected coins, as did my grandfather, and its neat to see Will lugging around those little blue Official Whitman Coin Folders.

Jack doesn't seem to have the collector gene, but Will's got it in spades, which is how I came to spend ten minutes yesterday dusting the tiny plastic NFL and NHL helmets that Will keeps displayed on his dresser. Housekeeping at its goofy best.


We have figs! The two fig trees on the south side of the house have come to fruition, and boy are they ever fruitionating. So far I've canned two batches of fig jam, but the lids on the first batch didn't seal--I think I filled the jars too full--so I'm going to use it to make fig jam-filled cookies. The second batch seems to have come through in tact.

It's tempting to make more fig jam, except I just don't know how much fig jam one family needs. It's quite tasty, not unlike strawberry jam but with a deeper flavor--what's the word for it? I almost want to say "earthy," but I don't know if the phrase "earthy strawberry flavor" will elicit the right response. You might hear it and think, Lovely, I must try some, or else, Sounds like strawberries covered with dirt, and who needs that?

I was telling my friend Amy the other day that I need to come up with a balanced food philosophy when it comes to preserving the fruits of summer. The perfectionist in me is feeling like we should pick all the figs and can them all and ... and ... have dozens of jars of fig jam that we'll end up throwing out after they've sat in the cupboard for two years. The Zen Buddhist in me says: Birds like figs, too. It's okay to leave some for the goldfinches.


I finally finished watching the HBO series "John Adams." I've watched the first four episodes at least three times, but for some reason never made it through the rest. At last, I have done it, and now I have a confession to make: I have a crush on Thomas Jefferson. Oh, we've always been friends; after all, I lived in Charlottesville during elementary school, visited Monticello numerous times, and had a hermit crab named TJ Crabbe.

But something more serious has been brewing since our trip back to Charlottesville last spring. And now that TJ's lima beans and crazy, out-of-control marigolds are blooming in my garden, well, it would appear that a deeper affection has bloomed as well.

Have you ever had a historical crush? Do tell!

By the way, I'm learning how to save seeds this summer, and have lots and lots of Thomas Jefferson marigolds seeds, which I started saving after Gretchen-Joanna asked for some. If you'd like me to send you some as well, let me know, and I will.


After my last entry, Leslie from Wayside Sacraments sent me a link to a great article in Atlantic Monthly called Caring for Your Introvert. I would recommend it to anyone who's an introvert or knows one. It spoke to my heart, this article, it truly did, and even made me feel a touch of introverted pride. Introverts of the world, unite!

Hmmm ... that doesn't seem quite right. How about, Introverts of the world, sit quietly in the corner and read!

Yep, that's more like it.

Have a great weekend!


Angela said...

So glad you have figs. If MY tree bears fruit next year, maybe I shall make fig jam. Can you put FJ into fig newtons? [we call then fig roll sover here]

now I am trying to remember if I ever had a crush on a historical figure. I am sure I must have done at some point. Will get back to you on that!
blessings x

Gumbo Lily said...

The figs are beautiful! I have never had a "fresh fig." Do you ever eat them raw? Or always cooked or dried? I love fig newtons so does fig jam taste like that? Fig-filled cookies sound terrific!

I don't recall having a crush on an historical figure although Bobby Sherman is now somewhat historical nowadays.

Please, if you have plenty of seeds, I'd love to receive some.


Tracy said...

If I knew someone with that many figs I wouldn't mind if they shared a few with me. I'd even go so far as to offer to come and pick them. As you say, there's only so many figs one family can deal with.

Ahhhhh, do you know how much I love you? That article about introverts was like a balm. I have three extroverts in my house and they do NOT understand why I prefer my book to running about all over the place looking for people to spend time with. They don't understand why I am positively giddy at the thought of a whole day locked in my house with just me and my study. And silence. My husband thinks my introverted daughter has something wrong with her, that she would spend 3 hours reading in her room by herself. I wish I could be her!

This explains why my husband can jabber on for house, expelling the contents of his brain....and why this tires me out and my eyes (and brain) start to glaze over. I love him....but he talks more than any person I know.

On a related note, one of the library staff thinks it would be lovely to have you come and visit. And knowing how you feel about people I thought, you could stay with me and I would be gone all day at work. You'd LOVE it!

The dB family said...

Fresh figs, yum!! I would love to try some fig jam. Maybe the word is full-bodied, or does that make one think more of coffee or wine?

I'm going to have to pop over and read that article. Especially as I am an introvert married to and introvert. (I didn't think that that was possible).

Happy FIGuring out what to do with all your figs ;oD!


wayside wanderer said...

I am glad you enjoyed that article. I live in a house with people of varying degrees of introvertedness. The two most outgoing members are both "babies" (my husband and youngest) and they like being around people just a tad bit more than the rest of us.

My crush...Charles Spurgeon. He would probably drive me crazy in real life (and it is NOT a physical attractiveness sort of crush), but I could read him always and forever and I would love to meet him. He says what I need to hear about things I struggle with.

Love those figs! You are a lucky girl and sounds like you and your family are having a great summer.

Susan said...

Have you considered using your plethora of canned good as Christmas gifts? I think the introvert in you could set jars of yummy canned items on front porches in the neighborhood or at friends' houses with a cute note and you wouldn't even have to ring the bell to talk to folks. As for the marigold seeds, you could wrap them in a scrap of fabric and they'd make a great holiday gift too. Remember all those teachers at Our Fine School to whom you'll have to give a gift? I think they'd appreciate a jar of something yummy or some seeds to plant from Monticello. It's a win-win for an introverted gal like yourself.

Now I'm a tiny bit envious that I have neither yummy homemade provisions put up for winter and that I don't have any plans for my Christmas gift giving. I AM glad that summer's bounty is providing such glorious opportunities for you! Can until your heart's content!

GretchenJoanna said...

Introverts might like spending a day being alone and creative in the kitchen, too! That article on introverts is good, a more lighthearted and shorter presentation than the book I also like, The Introvert Advantage.

Fresh figs are one of my favorite foods, and Jody, I cringe to think you haven't tasted one. They seem to me the most refreshing of fruits, something like a glass of exotically flavored water, but chewable....

Melissa E said...

Restraint when canning jam is a must! I have cabinets full of jam from last year even after giving away lots and lots for gifts! Needless to say I haven't made quite as much! We loved the John Adams series! I can't think of any historic crushes! Thanks again for helping me with the quilt. I am almost done hand-stitching the binding!

Pom Pom said...

Funny! I am going to read that introvert article before I go back to school. Maybe it'll prop me up, steeling me for all the faculty meetings. It's worth a try.
Figs! Preserving is fascinating, but the three gallon bags of sliced squash that have been in our freezer for two years now are not so fascinating. Hmmmmm.
The kids in Project Mulberry, which I am reading now, collected state quarters, too! Collecting is good. I'm going to try to remember to discuss collecting when I go back to school.
I have a crush on Winston Churchill. I like his pluck and the way he was (if he really was) so lovey-dovey with Clemmie.