strawberriesAll week I’ve been one day behind.

It wasn’t until early this morning, unable to sleep in our hot house, that I realized it was actually Thursday, not Wednesday.

It’s been a bit of an exciting week – with the arrival in the mail of the latest issue of Prairie Fire that contains my winning short story, Rhubarb – and ensuing activity, the details of which I will share as soon as I’m able.

It’s meant a few hasty deadlines. And that, plus our ongoing renovation to transform the roughed-in addition into a dining room, massage and walking exercises for Mowie’s leg, and a persistent sore shoulder that makes me feel sometimes like I’ve got one arm tied behind my back (although, thankfully, not the arm I use to write), has made me a bit tired and, okay, I’ll say it, even though it’s summer, stressed.prairiefirecover

But I’m here. And, in the north, it’s strawberry season.

A teacher friend of J.’s who hunts caribou and has taken him, under threat of blindfolding, to some of the area’s best fishing spots, also grows acres of strawberries on his dad’s farm west of us in the Carrot Valley.

Remembering my luscious strawberry-tarragon jam experiment from a few years ago, we bought twelve litres of fruit, plus jars.

Back then, I gathered the herb from the lovely, huge plant in our back yard in Orillia. This time, there isn’t any.

But I did pick up a lavender plant in the spring and despite the northern clime, the thing is huge. Who knew that 15-plus hours of sunshine per day could trick the greenery into thinking it’s in the South of France? I wish that worked on humans.

lavenderbloomsProvided I can get the computer stuff completed and don’t fall for the sticky shine of Facebook, that’s the plan: shake off some of those lavender blossoms, boil up some strawberries, and make jam.

It’s things like this – food tasks, playing with the alchemy of the kitchen – that always make me feel more human. The spoon will be stirring, the heat glowing off the stove, the aromas rising into my face and I’ll suddenly realize that I’m breathing again and all is right as rain.