Sugared Plum Visions, Maryland Bound, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

Inside: Adventures in making jam, postcards from the road, and finally getting there. Get all the news fresh from the farm.

Sugared Plum Visions, Maryland Bound
Plum jam–quick, someone get me a spoon!

Adventures in Making Jam

I love plum jam–I’ll just put it out there. So to add craziness to my already hectic schedule (I tend to choose simple over hectic, but life happens) I bought twelve pounds of red plums, knowing my trip to Maryland was imminent (read on), knowing I still needed to finish preparing my class as well as write posts for two websites, and pack, among other daily tasks. But I started the three-day jam process–not without a glitch or two. For one thing, last year my plums were purple, which results in a deep, rich burgundy jar of loveliness. Red plums will get you a sort of pink-orange color with an odd discoloration of plum skin turning, in some cases, green.

Go figure.

Well, when life gives you red plums (or that’s what’s on sale) you make red plum jam with slivers of greenish skin. And you taste it and give thanks regardless. Because although it wasn’t quite what you planned aesthetically, it still tastes amazing.

Family, you will be getting some. Ignore the odd green peels when you come across them. It isn’t green peppers. I promise.

Postcards from the Road

I’ve been in sore need of a road trip, and arriving just in time comes the annual vacay to Deep Creek, Maryland, where I will once again be teaching a writing class. I find this year, especially, I crave the rhythm of the road with the best travel companion a girl could ever want (he and I have been at this for thirty-plus years, have definitely found our groove) trekking mile after mile of Heartland Harvest. Fields of corn and corn stubble where combines have tread, listening to tunes from my past that remind me of where I’ve been.

Small farms out my passenger window, and large expanse of blue sky ahead as we move closer to our destination. We’ll get there, all in good time, knowing for now the journey is the thing.

Sugared plum visions, Maryland bound
My way is the highway.

And Finally Getting There

We arrived in western Maryland to warm weather and a warm welcome from my dear friend Patty. Together we put on these writing retreats once a year, though she does most of the planning, teaching, and logistics, as well as the cooking! Actually, starting with the second year, participants began bringing a main dish and either a side or dessert. So not only do we have this wonderful time of writing and camaraderie, we eat the most delicious food for the duration of the retreat. Then we all pitch in to help with reheating food and clean up. It works great. I highly recommend it.

As for me, I taught a class entitled “How to Create ‘Quite a Character.’ ” I’m not a natural teacher, like my daughter is, so I compensate by putting as much value into my talk as I can. Writing has opened up so many doors for me, brought some wonderful friends into my life, and I am so grateful for this writer’s life! I like to give back when I can. Not like it’s hard in beautiful Deep Creek, Maryland.

Hard to leave this year, but to quote Dorothy, There’s no place like home.

Teaching a class at Dreamweavers INK Writers Retreat.
Teaching a class at Memory Maker.
Dreamweavers INK Writers Retreat.
The Memory Maker lodge. Nice digs.

How did your week go? Tell us about it in the comments.

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4 Responses


      Thank you so much, Kelly! 🙂 I appreciate you reading my blog and commenting!

  1. calensariel

    What a gorgeous place for a writing retreat! So inspirational. My favorite kind of jelly to make was from tart pie cherries. Once I’d made it from them, I never used any other kind. But I DO love plum jam!


      I absolutely love tart cherry jam! Hubs does, too. In fact, I had been looking for the tart cherries to make jam this year but didn’t find them. When I mentioned your comment to Hubs, he started looking up different cherry tree varieties and planting zones. So, yes, definitely fans!