The thing about making jelly is

It’s a risky thing.

The experience is unpredictable.

Blog Photo - Jelly Currants in Pot

One minute you have a spoon in your hand

Stirring the sticky liquid in the pot

Staring at the smooth surface

Wondering when it will gel


Without warning, you find yourself 

Thinking about your worries

Worrying about your thoughts

Forgetting the jelly

Blog Photo - Jelly in Pot

Frothing to the rim of the pot

Gathering strength and density

Liquid thoughts like a substance

Which may or may not gel


Next, you’re in a meditation room

Listening to a voice say:

Don’t analyze your thoughts

Let them go. Let them pass

Blog Photo - Jelly Jar Double Mint

Thoughts are thoughts, not facts

Do not stop to judge them

Or be worried by them

Let them float out of your mind


If your back or arm aches

Or someone has hurt you

Don’t dwell on those thoughts

Let them pass, and float away


I return to the liquid on the stove

Just before the jelly boils over

Because making jelly requires this much:

My total attention.

Blog Photo - Jelly pouring into jars

Making jelly is a meditation

On the liquid in the pot, swirling

As my thoughts darken and thicken

And bubble and froth their way to the top


Did I say thoughts? I meant jelly

But maybe I meant thoughts

Thoughts are not facts! the jelly says

Let them go while you stay here

 Blog Photo - Jelly Jars many

Watch me boil and swirl and stir, and boil

And swirl and swell, making bubbles.

You are here, the jelly says

So be here. Be present with me


So you stir and watch and wait

For that final moment

When the liquid becomes

That thick,  sweet, slow-moving gel.

 Blog - Red Current Jelly in Jars

The thing about making jelly is

It’s a strange thing

The journey is unpredictable.





Filed under A Good Home, Jelly, Making Jelly, Mindfulness

Delusions of Grandeur

Autumn is the season of pumpkins.

The Northern Ontario Agri-Food Education and Marketing folks have a giant pumpkin contest.

Here are their photos of two previous winners.

Blog Photo - Pumpkin Giant and Children

So now I’m wondering if I should enter the pumpkin my husband and I grew this year.

What do you think?

Peach on left, Pumpkin on right

We planted 2 vines this year, and only this one pumpkin, above, survived. Next to the peach, it’s enormous.

It’s a matter of perspective.

And I’m declaring our pumpkin a giant.

Blog Photo - Pumpkin Giant from our Garden 2

If you’d like to grow slightly larger pumpkins, see Pumpkin Fest:

“July 1st-20th – watch for male and female flowers, cover these flowers with plastic baggies and when female opens (only for a couple of hours one day), pollinate the female by cutting male flowers from the plant and gently rubbing the pollen all over the segments in the female flower. (Re-cover to stop insect cross pollination). If you only have one plant and are not concerned about preserving the lineage of your pumpkin’s genetic line, you can let the bees do this work for you.”

Obviously, our giant pumpkin managed quite well without such advice.

But maybe next year….


Dedicated to pumpkin growers everywhere.


Filed under A Good Home, Giant Pumpkins, Pumpkins