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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I'm making dewberry jam today, from the bumper crop of berries picked from our HomePlace bramble. An unusually humid (and always hot) July in Texas, I work out in the porch kitchen so I don't heat up the house. A real sense of accomplishment to see the jars set out to cool, glowing purple-black; a reminder of things past.

I learned many things from my mother as I grew up -- needlework, cleaning, cooking, freezing and canning food. All valuable things I hope to pass on to my "Grands."

Mother was a difficult person to deal with inside the family walls. I left home carrying a whole lot of baggage. She had gone on (to paraphrase Janet Evanovich) to "the great casino in the sky"  two weeks ago. Mother did the best she could with what she had. We were estranged , but I have enough distance now to appreciate the things she taught me....

The jars on the towel sparkle, and sound softly as the lids seal. I swipe a finger along the side of the stainless steel jam pot for a taste, then toss it into the soapy water. I stand, scrubbing the pot, staring out into the woods, as memories roll across my mind.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bringing Up Kittens

Boat and half of her kittens gobble breakfast with Pepperoni. Sadly Pepperoni lost her kittens, but she's taken to wet nursing Boat's brood. Boat couldn't be happier, she'd already weaned the babies, but they try to mug herfor milk. The babies are overjoyed because milk still flows, just at a different dairy bar.

Peppi has taken to protecting the kittens, much to Bear-dog's dismay. Now two irritated female furies clean his clock when he tries to play with the kittens. Puffed up and growling in their protection mode, I'm even put off at their displays for Bear. Today he ignored the Momma duo and was beaten roundly until he ran away yelping. He can't understand what happened to his friend Peppi, she used to bat at him without claws, now she's developed sharp edges.

Boat generously shares her kittens with Peppi, for which I'm glad. Nothing's sadder than a Mom-cat calling for babies that are gone. I'm happy Peppi has some babies to mother. No doubt the kittens will grow to enormous size with all the extra milk.