Thank you! Homesteading Em. Kids both cute and insufferable.

Dearest readers, Your wildly enthusiastic responses to A Case for Thorns were so rewarding and exciting. Thank you! I dare say I felt like a "real" blogger.

A note about comments. A few have said they fear they "comment too much." Others so kindly comment via my personal Facebook page and wonder why those don't import to the comment section on Em-i-lis.

1) Comments are a blogger's bread and butter. You can NEVER comment too much or often, unless you are an a-hole troll. Y'all are not. So, comment away! 2) If you do want your comment to show on Em-i-lis, you either need to comment directly on the post OR on the feed that scrolls through me Em-i-lis Facebook page. The latter imports directly to the post on which you're remarking. My personal page does not feed into my blog.

In any case, thank you.

Pull Up Your Covered Wagon; I've Got My Kettle A'boil! And some irritating kids for sale.

Today was a marathon of putting up, sandwiched around Tom's work picnic during which Oliver could NOT have been a bigger pill. T and I were trying so hard not to honk and snort on his colleagues (people, can we just be well!?) and Ol's total commitment to pilldom really did us in. I cannot tell you how many times he climbed up the water slide-moon bounce ladder only to then start crying and request that we go up and fetch him. We did not have on bathing suits.

There was a dunking booth which is a bit of entertainment that needs to go newly viral. Jack clamored in and said, "Hey Mom, you wanna dunk me?"

People, I did. I really did. He'd had several moments throughout the morning during which I thought putting a fork in my eye and jumping out of the window sounded preferable to spending more time with him. So, I dunked his business like it was my job. He laughed, I laughed, and we were best pals from then on. Oliver was still whining to beat sixty, and if he were a better swimmer, I'd have forced his tiny bum up onto that dunk ledge ASAP.

The verve with which folks (except one nice mother) dunked their children was a sight to behold. Hilarious. There was even a grandfather who went in on his grandchildren. I think this is very illuminating, y'all. Just sayin'.

But for the rest of the day, I dealt with my the fruits of my wildly enthusiastic labors of yore. Blackberry-buttermilk muffins for breakfast. Straight-up blackberry jam for Tom and Jack; blackberry-sage for moi. So many bags of berries vacuum-sealed and put in the chest freezer for later. This gorgeous blackberry-peach crisp with a sage-brown butter topping. I think there are just a few cups left.

And then the tomatoes. Seventeen pounds, which was roughly half that tub I was gifted last night, were eaten by the boys or pressure-canned into quarts for the months from now when fresh tomatoes seem like a figment of a bygone era. Definite progress!

J and I read another chapter of The Westing Game tonight. Sadly, we're almost done, but happily, he loves it as much as I did when I was his age. Tomorrow the raspberries need tending, the peaches will surely have started to ripen and there remain many a pound of tomato to go. I'm up for it, as long as my Kleenex box and giant cup of water aren't far away.