A few years ago I moved into a house with roommates. It had been years since I had lived with roommates. Having been an RA in college, it was hit or miss on the years when I had a roommate and the years I didn’t. Then, in grad school and my first few years as a professional, I stayed away from the roommate possibility.
But, when the opportunity came to live with my friend Krista and her friend and former roommate, I decided to take it on. They are two of the most driven, brilliant, and genuinely nice people I have ever met.
I am constantly amazed by the ways in which Krista cares for others, demonstrates her passion for justice, and lives life fully each day. Krista’s ability to fully embrace each person around her and suggest connections I would not even have begun to think of confounds me. I had the pleasure of both living with her and working with her, and waking up at 2:30 in the morning to help a student out when necessary never led to a single complaint from her.
Kelly is such the Renaissance Woman. She bakes extravagant dishes (and has even been known to have a dessert cook-off on occasion). She writes poetry. She is an amazing fundraiser for non-profit organizations. She runs. She’s a theologian and has insight into scripture and church teaching I wish I could begin to understand.
It was really a blessing to live with these two women.
We did, however, have a few goals in our living together which didn’t quite pan out. We had tried (kind of) to grow a garden. This didn’t completely fulfill itself, but I like to think this was largely due to the fact that we didn’t live there a full summer, so we didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do so.
In relation to gardening, we had discussed canning. Kelly has canning down to a process, I think. I have wanted to try canning for awhile. Not only for the ability to eat locally all year long, but also because I think it would add to what some friends lovingly refer to as my future farm wife skills.
So, after picking up some blueberries and strawberries, stealing some thyme from my parents, and getting some jalapenos at the local farmer’s market, I decided to make two type of jam. I made Strawberry Balsamic Thyme Jam and Blueberry Lemon and Chile Jam. I didn’t modify either recipe much, so I am going to leave the links. Here you can see photos of my successes. I will note that I wish I had prepped one extra jar for both recipes. I’m unsure whether I’m scared to overfill the jars or if my measuring was just so lackadaisical, but I have a Tupperware with both kinds of jam in my fridge, in addition to the jars I have for preserving. And, do you notice the salt coating the outside of the jars? Apparently my new hometown has saltier water than I had realized!