We need ordinary days so badly. We don’t have television service here (by choice) and I’m grateful for that choice. I wish I could put some sort of parent block on my internet connection too, so that I can stop checking news sites obsessively. We are all safe. I decided against traveling this week – and I still believe that was that right call, although the conference organizers were understandably peeved.
I’m working as hard as I can to stay busy. Reviewing documents and termsheets, writing business development reports, cooking, crafting, organizing, reading. I’m staying in the moment with my boys – building lego, stacking blocks, planning birthday parties. Life goes on. But part of me will hold my breath today until my husband gets home. And tomorrow, we will rinse and repeat. The anxiety is raw, and constant.
This coming bit will probably make every Home Ec teacher and my Mom (who should have been a Home Ec teacher) cringe. I found some lovely Cape Gooseberries at my local fruit guy. They reminded me of my grandmother’s yard, where gooseberries grew along the fence line. My brother and I split the papery husks and ate the fruit right off the plant, leaving the empty husks fluttering along the fence like abandoned laundry.
I ate my fair share after bring them home, but the kids didn’t like the slightly tart fruit. So I made jam. I got the Kook en Geniet (the Afrikaans equivalent of Joy of Cooking), and sorta followed the instructions. Instruction one: clean the fruit and prick each with a hatpin. Each, really? And with a hatpin? I’ll skip that part. Next, add sugar and water and cook for thirty minutes until fruit is clear. Okay, except that I can’t tell whether the fruit is clear since I can’t see the fruit between the steam, the foam, and the seeds that are now everywhere from the burst berries. Now, thirty minutes is probably only necessary if you make this in a respectable quantity. Like several kilos. Not the measly 600 grams I had. Probably just as well because it turns out I have used all my canning jars for things such as cranberry chutney and homemade mustard. Oops.
At this point, I’m thinking that I’m a wimp. I envision women all over South Africa picking over baskets and baskets of fruit, pricking them each painstakingly with a needle (or a hatpin), and lining up rows and rows of mason jars full of golden jam in their pantries.
I envisioned golden fruit, suspended like jewels in clear syrup. Yeah. One small seedy jar for the fridge, and one for the freezer. But it tastes amazing, and won’t last long.
Carry on friends. Keep calm, eat jam, and carry on.