Farmers market, class, sleepover, class, hike, dinner

My Canning 101 class originally scheduled for yesterday morning was moved, because of that insane deluge, to today. It was such a terrific, energetic group of people, and I couldn't have enjoyed myself more. Thanks to all who came! Peach-apricot-almond jam, y'all!

Just before that, T and I made our way to the Bethesda Farmers Market because I was in dire need of some feta and an ash boulé from Stonyman Cheese. Both are off-the-hook good, and off-the-hook expensive. I urged T to go peruse other stalls while I settled up. Gah.

Anyway, we also came across the most vivid eggplant and okra, tomatoes and favas. One thing was prettier than the next and it's probably best I had to get to my class. I left T with a list and now look forward to cooking with all this gorgeousness this week.

We also came across some artisanal tonic and grenadine and, wholly convinced by the perfect packaging, bought a bottle of each. As the clock struck 6 tonight, I made myself a Jack Rose with the grenadine. Che bella!

a Jack Rose- totally appealing, yes?

a Jack Rose- totally appealing, yes?

Meanwhile, Oliver returned from his terrifically fun sleepover, and Jack was just arriving at Old Rag with Tom's dad. They were planning to hike up the front and down the back, an 11-mile trek, in preparation for an awesome hiking trip out west later this summer.

Oliver invited us to play Hangman with him which, because he is an early reader, is hysterically limited. "A water," for example. Or, not surprisingly, "Poop." "Jack, Mom, Dad" was a clean one while "A poop water" and "A poop in water" were a bit more scatalogical and mysterious.

Then my writing group met, and Jack came home, and Ol and I planted herbs, and the boys went to bed, and T and I grilled a pizza and dined al fresco, and now we are calling it rest time. Deservedly so.

It is a remarkable gift to have children and then, when possible, to part with them for spells of time. Everyone had fun and was rejuvenated during our brief stint away from each other.

And, our cucumbers are going gangbusters!!

Separating the curds from the whey

This morning, I logged into a private Facebook group and found my first free-write prompt. I'll be doing this every weekday for the next fortnight, and I'm burning with anticipation. I've cleared much of my calendar during this time, so that I can fully immerse myself in this small group session entitled Blossom. 

The name seems so apropos of everything right now. Of the determined flowers budding and blooming despite an elusive spring. Of the clouds of pet hair swirling at my ankles no matter how often I vacuum, winter coats shedding away in preparation of warmer temperatures to come. Of the bubbles of promise I see atop many a vista and even in the challenges that motherhood so often pitches forward.

This time of year is so busy. School is starting to draw to a close -just over a month left!- and it seems we've been celebrating something for weeks now and have weeks of the same ahead. Celebrations are the best sort of living, so I certainly don't begrudge any of that happy goodness, but they do keep the dance card full.

In such a whirlwind, I feel indulgent taking -making!- this time for a pursuit without an end goal, and yet, maybe that's all the more reason to simply say yes to an opportunity that spoke deeply to my soul.

Yesterday, on the way home from the boys' swimming lessons, we tried to visit a farmers market off our usual course. We were foiled from every angle- no parking, a bathroom emergency, two broken ATMs. I gave up and drove us home in a frustrated snit, irritated that something the boys both wanted to do with me was being snatched from reach.

But once home, Jack decided he'd rather go on a bike ride with Tom, and Tom had just gone to the ATM so could give me some money, and Oliver said he really wanted to go back to the farmers market. So we all did all that, each what we wanted, and it was wonderful.

As Oliver and I approached an impressive cheese stall, he said, in between giant bites of croissant, "Let's get a weally stinky cheese here!" Everyone around us smiled and softened, warmed by a little boy loudly crying out for a relatively unusual six-year-old's snack.

I burst with pride, and we tasted with abandon, ultimately buying four hunks of lusciousness with varying degrees of stink.

Last night, I grated some atop a bowl of sauteed greens, warm tomatoes and roasted asparagus just grown and picked at a friend's parents' farm (A of the tubs of tomatoes last summer fame). A and her husband came for dinner Friday night, to talk tomato canning (because how better to deal with a billion pounds of freshly-picked tomatoes) and catch up, and brought with them said asparagus. 

We shared a meal, some wine, stories and tips. I served dessert, her husband the next day left a shade-loving plant on our porch because I'd mentioned our yard was not on the receiving end of rays.

Kindness and connection blossom and spread in the friendliest sort of viral ways. In unexpected ways and in unexpected places. Especially if you let them.

beauty and growth in unexpected places   

beauty and growth in unexpected places