Glamping in the Sticks and Tomato-Basil Jam!

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My parents are finally back from their happy-little-retired-people romp all over the United States. They’ve been gone for months and I have to admit I’ve been feeling a little abandoned!

Really, I’m so happy for them. After years and years of bad luck and hard knocks, my dad working harder than anyone I know and being gone for months and months away from his home and family… they are FINALLY living the sweet life. And the best part is that they are still healthy enough to appreciate it. They bought a little trailer and they’ve been camping all over the place. It’s their dream come true.

But now they are finally back and you know what that means!  Quick Stick Fix!!! Woo hoo!  I love where I live but I have missed the sticks. Especially summer in the sticks with it’s crazy-abundant garden-harvest time. Oh, I miss my tomato garden so much!  Good thing my parents have a garden that is hooked up to a drip system and waters itself while they’ve been gone. It pretty much grew into a jungle.

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Tomatoes! Basil! Mint as tall as you! Corn, squash, peaches, plums! It’s a dream out here. A crazy wild out of control garden jungle of a dream.

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Of course Bug loves the sticks. It’s a kid wonderland out here. Junk everywhere, tree houses, broken down clubhouses (ie: death traps), weeds that grow as high as your head,  big panting dogs that like to play fetch, eight cats and of course all the produce you could ever want to eat right at your fingertips. She and her cousin Super Chic have been having a blast.

I call it glamping when I’m here because well, things are not exactly spic and span. If you know how my parents are then you know what I’m talking about. Cleanliness is not on the top of their list but that’s okay because hospitality and charm are. So you just can’t stress about clean bathrooms or dirty dishes, dust or spiders or (gasp!) animal hair. It’s just part of life. Suck up your city-slicker squeamishness and make the best of it.   You just have to let go and give in and if you can do that you’ll have a really good time. I love it here.

If you pretend you are camping then it’s actually really super glamourous. They have electricity , hot showers, air conditioning and wifi! My mom stocks via coffee just for me and my dad makes the best waffles ever. And we get to sleep in their trailer which is just one step away in cuteness from an Airstream.

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Last night when it finally cooled down I walked the garden with my mom and we harvested about three pounds of tomatoes in about five minutes. I was so excited about the sheer quantity of tomatoes that I talked my mom into making a batch of tomato-basil jam. She found the recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens 2013 Canning magazine and it peaked both of our interest. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to tackle at nine o’clock at night but I can be a bit manic and persuasive at times. My poor mom. Maybe it’s a good thing they don’t see me all that often.

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Anyway, the jam turned out really cool. It’s definitely something of a novelty that you break out at parties with fancy cheeses and crackers or spread on a crunchy piece of sourdough toast or something. I wouldn’t want to eat it in a peanut butter sandwich or anything. It’s sweet but definitely tomato-y and faintly reminds you of cold pizza or spaghetti sauce. But I don’t care I think it’s wonderful and I’m so proud to be taking five jars home.

I love the sticks!

Sunday in the Sticks

Grandma teaching Bug how to Knifty knit.

We visit the sticks once a month. We used to visit on the fourth Sunday of the month but we’ve moved it to the third Sunday.

Gramma

We visit so we can spend time with Grandma. Grandma is getting older and tireder and she doesn’t do as much as she would like to but she still really loves to have company so company we be. It’s fun to be company. It’s nice to have a big family dinner as a tradition too. The older I get the more I love tradition.

Cooking with Auntie.

My Aunt Keren always fixes us something fancy. She’s good at fancy.

Sneaking a cupcake.

And of course there is always dessert. Usually something Bug helps with.

Even Papa gets in on the action.

My Dad even got in on the action this time. It’s been so nice having my dad around more. It sucks that he’s home because he busted his rotator cuff and is in so much pain at night that he’s taken up drinking a glass of wine to help him sleep but it sure is nice having him around. I hope his glove business takes off so he can stay home all the time. His surgery to fix his shoulder is scheduled for January and then he’ll have time after that to heal so I guess we’ll just have to see.

Home again.

Then back on the road again, jiggety jog.

It won't be done in time but that's okay. The heart paints what the heart paints.

Bug was kinda out of sorts on our way home. Probably lots of mixed feelings about missing old friends. So we stopped and painted a plate. Painting always cures what ails you.