Tuesday, July 27, 2010


so I say I'm taking a break and I can't stay away.  just REAL fast- yesterday I made my annual batch (this is 1 of 2) of fig jam with rosemary and lemon.  I bought tiny quarter pint jars for gifting.  I needed to have one to take to my excellent teacher, and to be honest, I was afraid that they'd spoil before I could use them if I didn't do something NOW.  It's super yummy, not too sweet.

Oh, you'd like the recipe?  If you don't know how to can, you could freeze it.  But you CAN can.  Just make sure your jars are super clean (put them in a large stockpot with a towel underneath and bring to a boil as you're making the jam.  Take 'em out with tongs.  Throw the lids in a small saucepan and simmer) and you have a big stockpot.

Fig Rosemary Lemon Jam
mashed figs to make 4 c
1.25 c sugar
1 box low-sugar pectin (I use Pomona's Pectin, it's low sugar, but I have to get it online)
1/2 c lemon juice (or more.  I use more)
grated zest of one lemon (again I use more)
3 sprigs rosemary, destemmed, but not chopped

boil it all up.  Ladle it into your jars, leaving 1/4 " headspace.  Wipe the rims of your jars clean, screw on lids and rings, put back into your boiling stockpot (if you don't have a canning jar rack use a kitchen towel in the bottom) and process for 10 minutes (start timing when it begins to boil again). 
Take the jars out and let cool on a towel-covered cutting board.  The lids should ping.  If they don't ping or suck in,  keep in the fridge.  This made 7 quarter pints and 3 half pints.  I have some more figs in the fridge that I may use to make a fig/thyme/onion jam with after my class.

ok.  have fun.  be well. 

Friday, July 23, 2010


has been my state of mind lately.  Sometimes it seems like everything happens all at once.  Good things, crazy things, inconvenient things, happy joyful things, things that make you want to just go back to bed.   There are some wonderful changes and events afoot, and a few hurdles to cross before they happen.  I'm trying to stay in an optimistic frame of mind but sometimes the daily grind makes that difficult. 
But I'm focusing on the good.

I told you about the tomato farmer who gave me six lbs of lovely beautiful heirloom tomatoes that he considered culls?  And I turned them into beautiful summer-flavored tomato sauce?  Six whole pints (that's six instant suppers!)?  I made him this tomato mug.  I did my usual leaf-imprint, but while thinking about this class I'm taking next weekend, I decided to write "tomato" in the really-too-dry clay.  I say too dry because if the clay had been a hair closer to leather hard rather than completely dry (it was completely dry),  I would have carved a bit deeper, which would have left more room for the glaze to pool into and the word would have shown up more.  Which is to say, at all.  But I am thrilled with the potential.  And totally excited about the class.

Other things in the works- weddings.  I have a love-hate relationship with facebook.  Love that I've been able to reconnect with so many college friends I haven't heard from in years.  Love the instant communication with in-town friends.  Really, I love the exposure it's given my business.  I just hate the (self discipline I don't have) time suck factor.  But one of my little sisters* from college is getting married at the end of August and I'm making her wedding party gifts.  And we reconnected and she saw my work on Facebook.  It really really makes me happy.

Did I mention I'm taking a class with the lovely and talented Diana Fayt?  And I'm completely over the moon about it?  She is very much a mentor to me, and I'm tickled to get to learn from her in person, not just in the over-email-advice-seeking capacity the internets provides.  Photos of the workshop to come.

OK.  This weekend I'm at the market.  It will be hot.  I will have fewer things than usual.  OH!  But the really good news is that the tent and shelves and everything fits neatly into the car with the seats folded down.  I was overjoyed when we did our "test pack" earlier this week. 

So have a lovely weekend, I'll be back in this space in August.  I'm giving myself a break for the class and clearing those hurdles I mentioned earlier.  Think good thoughts, will you? 

*I went to a women's college, Salem, in NC.  It is a very small school, and there are "sister classes"- ie freshman/junior, sophomore/senior.  My little sisters and I were close but had lost touch, so it's wonderful to reconnect and play a small role in one's wedding.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I really don't know where the time goes.  Last week went by in a blur, but it was full of good things.  First, I did get the 850.  It isn't a wagon, but the seats fold down and I'm hoping hoping I can get all of my market gear in - shelves, tent, etc.  I really mourned velva-the-volvo's passing.  But I'm hoping that she has a future with someone else.

I threw quite a bit.  I made lots.  A whole kiln load.  All good.  And I experimented with plates.  That hurt my arms, so I put the idea of wheel-thrown plates out of my mind.  Can't do it without pain, so there's no reason to entertain ideas of doing so.  Beginning to figure out slab-built options for plates. 

I sauced and canned eight pounds of heirloom tomatoes.  That a fellow at the market gave me as he was packing up.  They were catfaced- you know, puckered, multi-lobed, a little scarred, full of character, if a tomato can have such a thing.  Really yummy sauce made from organic tomatoes.  Free organic tomatoes.  So I made this farmer a tomato leaf mug.  I'll show you later this week.

One night I stayed out for an extra hour with a friend and I realized that she is one of my life mentors.  It is so good to have those kind of people in your life- people you can learn from just by watching, and conversation with them only deepens your understanding of their wisdom.  I feel really blessed to be actively involved with a multi-generational group of women.  I learn so much from my time with them.

And the figs are in.  I'm picking three times a day.  My largest mixing bowl is full of figs in the fridge.  I'm looking for teeny giftable-size canning jars to make rosemary-lemon-fig jam.  And thinking on how I'll fit in jam-making  to my pottery (and swimming) schedule this week.  The chickens like figs, too.  That's fun.

Ok.  I hope you had a good weekend and have a good week.  I'll see you later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's a Monday. And other news

It's Monday*.  The good:  We have gotten a goodly bit of rain, which I'm really just over the moon about.  My boy is in an all-day camp out in the woods, which I'm also tickled about.  I made more butter crocks today, and some crock-pot applesauce.  And I just found that I've made my second appearance in my friends' (Emily and Molly)photography blog, Habit.  I'm flattered to be included.  I've been perusing the beautiful photos and snippets of days for over a year- this month they've invited everyone to participate through flickr.  It is a thrilling to see one of my photos pop up while I'm checking my blog stream!

These tomatoes, by the way, went into a delicious cobbler that I've been playing around with for several years.  Last night's version included goat feta, basil, and a cornmeal pastry crust.  This is one of my favorite dishes- I always freeze several gallons of cherry tomatoes so that I can make this over the winter.  It is one of my favorite things to serve at Thanksgiving.

I had a good market day Saturday- the best I've had since the opening weekend.  I'm grateful for that, and grateful for the enthusiasm for the butter crocks.  Several people have talked to me about making plates over the weekend, so I've thrown a few and am waiting for them to dry enough to trim them.   Plates are hard work and expensive, but I'm up for a challenge.  I don't think I'll be too upset if they don't happen, though.  There is little that's as frustrating as opening the kiln and finding that your hours of work amounted to several cracked plates.  Or berry bowls. Or whatever.  Cracks are no fun.

I hope your weekend was good, and that your work week's gotten off to a good start.

*since it is Monday, here's my Monday story.  I drove my old reliable 15 year old volvo wagon to the bank.  I sat in the drive through, where velva-the-volvo entered her death throes.  She passed out.  In the drive-through lane.  Gary had to come and give me a jump, then go to get the battery checked and find that she needs a new alternator.  If she weren't 15, this wouldn't be a deal-killer, but she is.  And I talked to my mechanic, and he recommended a test drive of another-but-newer- 850.  Think good thoughts for us, will you?

Friday, July 9, 2010

weekend again?

I can't believe how quickly the summer is going by.  I'm doing less than I planned, but I always plan to do too much, so I'm ok with that.  I've been swimming a lot.  Every day, a lot.  It is a joy.

On Tuesday I was getting ready to glaze my pots when I realized that I'd bisque fired several honeypots without piercing holes in the lids.  Hmm.  I'll probably make new lids for those pots, but I decided to make jam- blueberry blackberry- instead of glazing.  I processed the blueberry butter, then made the jam.  I have 17 jars of blueberry goodness in my pantry.  I told myself that jam was less demoralizing than honeypots that wouldn't hold a wooden honey dipper.  It turns out that there was another reason to wait to glaze- my friend and glaze helper called and wanted some pottery time.  If I hadn't set my work aside, I wouldn't have been able to have her help.  And I was so happy to have her help.

It is raining!  Big wonderful fat drops.  I hope it keeps up all night.  This is the first rain my garden has seen since June 11.

I'll be at MFM this weekend.  In the "T".  With honey pots, butter crocks, speckley things, berry bowls.  This coming week I'll have several of these same things in my neglected etsy shop.  And my boy has an all-day long camp next week, so I'm planning to throw on the wheel every day. 

I hope you all have a nice weekend.  Thanks for your support, your friendship, your time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Good morning!  I hope you had a good long holiday weekend.
This weekend I:
went picking blueberries with a friend and with some of my mom's friends.  Picking on this weekend at a teeny-tiny family farm is my family's tradition.  It's perfect, especially when the heat holds off like it did this weekend.  I made off with three gallons.  Then I made:

this.  In the crock pot.  It is yummy and easy.  And still in the fridge, because I didn't get around to processing it.  I also have a batch in the dehydrator.  We love dried blueberries in our granola.

watched my husband finish up the nesting box for our chickens.  The coop is finally all ready to paint and pretty up.  I'm excited about this step.

Went swimming with friends on Friday and Saturday.  Watched my boy dive into the pool and swim all the way to the shallow end.  Watched him swim from the shallow end to where I was bobbing around in the deep end.  Was mystified by his sudden progress.  And realized that for the first time since I was a college student, I have a tan.

Took vows to simplify my life a bit more.  Sometimes I try to do too much.  When you try to do too much you (read: I) aren't happy or gracious or welcoming.  Simple is better.

Bisque fired on the evening of July 4, listening to the sounds of neighborhood kids shooting off firecrackers.  Today I'll start glazing.

Helped my mom finish digging up the heirloom plants at her old garden to go to her new house.  She has some irises that belonged to my grandmother and her grandmothers.  The teeny tiny daffodils from Louisiana are hidden deep in the ground and will have to wait until spring when they show their leaves again.  And organized her new pantry, hung some plates I made before N was born on her kitchen wall, and washed all of our cars.

Started learning about planting by the moon phases.  Interesting.  I'm going to try it with a second batch of potatoes (even though it's really too late, I found some fingerlings hiding in my basement root storage) and those green beans that have dried up.  There's certainly no harm in trying them again.

This week:
holding out hope for rain and cool temperatures
more swimming- practice after this week's swimming lessons
processing the blueberry butter
making blueberry-blackberry jam (oh, hello! jam!)
glazing.  That part starts today.

talk to you soon.