Painting My Nails Red

One of my colleagues has a lot of fruit trees. She was kind enough to let my family pick the plums and peaches--she lives alone and isn't going to use them.

Four grocery bags of each plums and peaches later... I spent a good part of my weekend making jam, plum butter, and freezing the rest. Oh, I also made a plum pie: something I've never tried before. It was pretty good!

I've made a lot of apple butter in my years, but this was my first crack at plum butter. It took longer to cook down than the apples do, but I didn't have to run it through a mill. The plum skins just kind of disappear. The finished product is very much like apple butter, but more tart.

I don't know what variety of plums these are. Their skins are green, but the flesh is a lovely red. The peaches are wonderful: big freestone peaches that were easy to process. Since peach pie is a favorite with my guys, all the peaches were frozen to that end.

Working on that kind of thing makes me very happy. I might be a professional in my work life, but my heart is really at home. I love to bake and cook. Having a dozen jars of jam, and freezer full is something that warms my heart. I miss the days of a big garden and making pickles and....all that good stuff. The fall hunts are coming up, so the freezer will be full of a good variety. We have Montana huckleberries, peaches and plums, deer and elk, a little fish from Mexico, and some breadcrumbs from homemade bread. We're a happy family.

One thing I don't love is the new stove. When we bought the house, it came with one of those smooth-top electric stoves. Never again. I think those must be for people who don't really cook, or else don't mind how their stove top looks. It isn't for me. If I were going to do any canning, I would have to hook up the gas cooker outside. No way would my new stove hold a canning kettle.

I want one of those ranges that has five gas burners and double ovens, but still fits in a regular space. They make them with the smooth top, too. A range is one of the next things we need for our cabin and I was seriously looking at the double-oven smooth top. Wow am I happy I had a chance to try that out before I committed so much money to one! I would have been kicking myself for years. I would have been doing the canning on the old wood cookstove: a hot proposition this time of year.

If you have ever spent very much time processing apples, peaches, or pears you will understand: I am wearing bright red nail polish. It was the only color I had that was bright enough to cover the brown stain on my nails. I like that. It's a like a little badge of honor.