Perfect Imperfections

There can be beauty in the imperfections…  I might wish that I felt more comfortable with this statement, but I am a selective perfectionist.  This means that in some things I am very relaxed, but in others I can become paralyzed if I cannot get a project to meet my expectations.  Thankfully, my husband and I are well-paired in this arena.  Where I stall out, he moves forward with gusto. Our garden this year is a perfect example of how beauty and joy can come from unexpected imperfections.  This is our second year planting a vegetable patch.  Last year was a bit of a bust.  We were novices with high expectations.  We started the season in a flurry of energy and completely fell off as the summer progressed.  This year, with new baby and a busy life, I entered with moderate expectations.  We planted tentatively and sparingly… still, I stalled out when I couldn’t come up with an aesthetically appealing plan for my vertical peas.  I was ready to throw in the towel.  Thankfully Gus stepped in and made it happen.  He also had big plans for our tomatoes.  I hate the way the tomato planters look.  There, I said it.  They are planted in rubbermaid totes and are pretty ugly – but, as you will see, quite impressive.


As it turned out, the garden was a funny and beautiful success ~ an exercise in wabi sabi.  Our peas were fantastic on their imperfect stakes.  They grew like crazy and the kids enjoyed picking them every day for a month.  Then our two small nasturtium plants went gangbusters.  They took over the carrots and scallions and eventually had to be completely pulled.  And now, our beans have gone crazy!  We call them “the leaning tower” due to their robust growth towards the sky.  Jokes have been made about whether we traded a cow for the seeds… and whether Jack will by coming by anytime soon.  Lastly, our tomatoes are the best I have tasted in years.  When planning something in May, it is impossible to know what unexpected beauty and delights will occur in June, July, or August… A good lesson.  Thanks, Honey.



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Apricot Rosemary Jam

Today is apricot rosemary jam day.

I made this jam last year and loved the herbal notes that the rosemary adds to the flavor.  It is wonderful over a bit of goat cheese or as a marinade for chicken.  Unfortunately for me, I made only enough to pass along for gifts and didn’t remember to keep even one jar for our house!  This past Sunday I bought 22 pounds of apricots from our local farmer’s market to make sure I made enough!  I am excited to report that the rosemary that I am using this year comes from our little garden.


The recipe I am using is inspired by a post from Food in Jars:(

One of the reasons I like it is that it is very easy.  I am a bit of a lazy preserver, in that I don’t really relish the idea of extra work (as in, taking the skin off of fruit).  With apricots, all you need to do is pull them apart, take out the pit and you are good to go.  The other reason I like this recipe is that it is quick.  I made six batches (24 half pints) in about 3 hours, which is exactly how long I had since preschool camp this week is from 9:00am – noon.


The cherubs are on their way home, so quickly here is the recipe if you feel inspired:

Apricot Rosemary Jam (makes 4 half pints)

4 cups apricots (halved and pitted)

2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary (or omit for traditional apricot jam)

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Mash apricots, not necessary for them to all be the same size.  Place apricots, sugar, and rosemary in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until fruit thickens and runs slowly and thickly off back of spoon.  Add lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Remove pot from heat.

Ladle jam into four half pint jars.  Wipe rims of jars with wet paper towel, apply lids and rings and process in your boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Remove jars from pot.  Let cool.  When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals.  If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place.  If any of the jars did not seal, place those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.


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