Mildew and Blackberry Jam

It’s that time of year! The crop is in. I went blackberry picking today and came home with the first fruits of the new crop. In my eagerness to cash in on all that wonderful juicy fruit, I rushed down the dock without socks. It was touch and go whether I would make it home with enough berries to make jam before I was overcome with ankle lacerations. But pshaw! A few scratches hardly slowed me down. Then I opted to boil up a couple of batches of jam tonight, which might have been a bad call on account of the heat. So I’m typing as fast as can before we’re both overcome with heat exhaustion.
We’ve had a nasty spring. John Darling had a heart problem none of us knew about, and his cardiologist guessed wrong and thought he could last three or four months before they stented him, but the family doctor, may Heaven bless her, put her foot down and squabbled with the specialist until he bumped John up on the list. Now stented, he is recovering, though we’re not going boating this summer. I cheated and wrote a few magazine articles using the ‘research and ferry rides’ system.
We did buy a sailing dinghy, so I shall paddle out to the middle of the bay some day soon and look for wind. John Darling promises to stand by with the inflatable dinghy if I fall in.
We flew to Yellowknife to visit with our wonderful family, and meet the newest member. Little Catherine is a terribly clever baby, I must say, but she gets her good looks from her great-grandpa, or so John says. We flew Air Canada. Never do that. We flew Economy AIr Canada. Never do that. “Only one stopover on the way there, and only two on the way back,” I told my husband. Then as we waited nine extra hours in the Edmonton International Airport for our connecting flight, I leaned over to the man I love and said, “You can thank me later for booking this flight.” We fell into bed in Yellowknife at 4:00 AM, and frankly, at our age, this is not good. But meeting us at the airport was Maggie and Ryan and Kelly, and that is the kind of family devotion that we live for. On the way back we were delayed only an extra 2 1/2 hours, got lost in Victoria on our way back from the airport (It was then I discovered my night vision has deteriorated to nil – eye exam pending), and fell into bed at midnight. Sigh. I would like to pause here and publicly thank Hemstalk Motors of Cowichan Bay, who had fixed my headlights before we left for our Air Canada adventure. Those guys are the absolute best. You tell them something like, “Please fix these headlights,” and you end up with more light than you’ve ever had on a vehicle before in your entire driving life. Those headlights were brightened, polished, replaced, and aimed in exactly the right direction. (I own a new-to-me Nissan that I love. My Kia, I am ashamed to say, I foisted off on a very nice Syrian refugee, but I didn’t charge him much. He’ll probably get about a year out of it before he starts hating Canadians. At least I warned him). So as we wandered through the Gorge in Victoria, and then View Royal, we had light, light, light. If only I could have read the signs. Luckily John Darling was driving. He doesn’t read signs as a matter of policy. It’s a guy thing. He goes on instinct. “I bet the highway’s this way,” he says.
Some wonderful person donated a piano to Cittislow, and they plunked (pun intended) it down in the middle of Cowichan Bay. The reason I haven’t been writing my blog is because I’ve been putting in a couple of quality hours on the piano every day for nearly five months now. I’m at the stage where I can listen to myself play and sort of enjoy it. As I recall, I quit as a teenager because I was just musical enough to make it excruciating to listen to myself butcher the classics. Luckily now I’m half-deaf. Bonus! Old age has benefits you might never appreciate unless you’re old and wise enough to identify them. And on the subject, I now have a hearing aid for my left ear. I leave it off when I play, so I have the best of two worlds. May Heaven bless you and keep you, and may your life always have music. Catherine xxoo