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Memories During Rhubarb Jam Making Time

May 21, 2011

James was busy this week, and the results were tart and sweet all at the same time.  The making of rhubarb jam filled our home with that old-fashioned scent that carries one backwards in time.  The results are perfect with toast and peanut butter….can it be even better drizzled over ice-cream?   This experiment will need to be undertaken soon, but mind you, only for the sole sake of science!  The fact that this ‘experiement’ seems to be required annually should only underscore the seriousness that I give to everything.  

The rhubarb plants came from my mom and dad’s garden in Hancock which produced amazing yields every year.  All through my life the row-length of the huge-leafed vegetable  ran alongside a white fence that denoted the start of the garden, which was separated from the large flower area that mom tended. 

About three years ago James and I brought some of the roots to our home, and they have been nurtured every step of the way.  Every winter James comments that he can not wait until the snows melts, the soil warms, and the plants start to grow.  I think the rhubarb plants are one reason that James’ favorite window to look out is from the kitchen that overlooks the large leafs.

My mom would use a kitchen knife to cut the stalks, while my dad always used his jack-knife stored in the garage for the same task.  Regardless of the knife used the same admonition would be given about the poisonous nature of the rhubarb leaves.  The warning seemed as much an annual event as the promise of a bountiful harvest.

There is no way to look at the plants in our Madison yard now and not see the white rail fence from back in my childhood.  There was no way not to smell the boiling sweetness this week and not to reflect.  All good memories.

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