Saturday, September 5, 2009


For the first time in a long time, I misplaced my sense of humor. It didn't last long, thanks to a lot of deep therapeutic breathing. All I will say is, Neville has been a real stinker for the last two weeks. Clearly, some major part of that nerve has come up for air.

I have a day off! Today's plans were to include blueberry picking at Tacoma City Park but that was revised when I saw the rain. Rain, on its own, would not normally be a hindrance (I am a child of the Pacific Northwest) but Neville has redeveloped a hypersensitivity to cold. I'm keeping my left hand indoors where it's nice and warm. Wrapped around a cup of tea.

We've been in Ant Mode around here, gathering the foodstuffs and putting them into the larder. I was determined to pick as many blackberries as possible, given what a wonderful year it has been for them. It looked like they might shrivel on the vine with all the heat but the recent rain has plumped all those berries quite nicely. We now have lots of jars of jam, both blackberry and mixed berry, as well as several bottles of my great-grandfather's blackberry cordial.

That cordial is a family tradition. Great-grandpa Daniel emigrated from Hammerfest, Norway in the mid-1880s and settled down in Washington, first in Spokane, then around Puget Sound - Lopez Island, Seattle (Greenlake), and Auburn. He was a confectioner in Skagit county, with a bakery and small restaurant. We have some of his recipes, which includes the cordial. The original recipe called for lingonberries but Daniel found blackberries to be a fine substitute. The cordial was medicinal. When a family member felt a cold coming on, Daniel or his wife would heat up 1/4 cup and the infected member would drink it down, just before bedtime. We still use it for that. It is, quite simply, good for what ails you. And it's pretty yummy on vanilla ice cream.

The recipe:

Boil together 1 quart blackberries with 1 cup water, until the fruit is very soft.
Strain out the seeds (a jelly bag is great for this).
To the juice, add 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp clove.
Bring this to a soft boil and cook, stirring, for 15-20 minutes.
Let it cool.
Now mix 2 parts juice to 1 part whiskey.
Bottle it up. Hot diggety.

My grandmother made a pretty mean raspberry cordial, too. It could take the top of your head off if you didn't just sip the stuff. It was a great mystery to me that my sturdily-Baptist grandmother made bottles of it every year. It contained vodka, for goodness sake. I finally discovered that my grandparents had been Methodists first. Alrighty then.

Overheard on Twitter: Restroom keys: the next great biological frontier.

Next time: spousal bonding through house projects. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Thaydra said...

I'm sorry to hear Neville's been being a troublemaker =( That's no good. Do they know why it's acting up again? Is it maybe the season changing? Hopefully winter doesn't cause too many troubles.