February may technically be the shortest month, but it's so spectacularly crap-tastic that the misery it inflicts on me makes it drag on forever. The days are cold and grey and ugly, and while they linger, so am I.
I've been trying to pull myself out of this funk, to make myself write to you about good things, but really I only want to complain. I want to complain to you that my husband refuses to fold towels the way I've shown him. Complain that no amount of expensive cream or Vaseline will stop my hands and heels from cracking. Complain that I've been putting on weight since Bad was weaned and I don't know how to make it stop.
I'd pushed all these half-written raving blog posts out of my head and started to list my blessings; but then, this morning, the unthinkable happened. We ran out of jam.
Now, I've never been big on jam before; but this summer, on the most beautiful June day, we took the kids to pick strawberries. We bounced along on the wagon ride out to the field, and the berries were tiny and firm, jewel-bright and bursting with forgotten strawberry flavour. Within minutes we'd picked 10 pounds. And if they'd bothered to weigh Bad along with our containers on our way in and out, they may have charged us for a pound or two more.
Strawberries are disgusting frozen, so 10 pounds of berries meant jam. I googled recipes, and then I googled for help understanding the recipes. And then the kids and I sliced berries and boiled them up with nothing but sugar and fresh lemon juice. We bottled it up, and printed some labels.
Just taking the jar out of the fridge made me smile, and the jam itself was amazing. Every time I spread a little on a fresh muffin or scone it took me back to that day. Like a little bit of sunshine for breakfast. Bad wanted to eat it with a spoon. And now it's all gone and I'm kicking myself for giving any away. I blame February.