DESPITE THE MORNING MARINE LAYER that has greeted us the last four or five days, the afternoons turned sunny and last night’s sunset was quite lovely. I especially love the way the blooms of Altissimo were lit up when viewed from behind. I could not resist trying to capture the glow.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON I went to my friend Don’s and took him up on his offer of red plums. In exchange, he’ll receive some plum preserves. Don has a very efficient method of harvest: shake the branches and the ripe ones fall to the ground. No ladder climbing. I brought home eleven pounds!

Yesterday I made preserves and jelly. Half of the plums went to juice for jelly and the others became plum preserves. From eleven pounds of plums I put up ten half-pints of jelly, eight half-pints of preserves and three half-pints of syrup from the leftover juice.

In 2005 we went to Chicago and then onto Milan, Illinois to visit Tom’s cousin and her husband. We went with them to visit the John Deere Museum in the Quad Cities and in the gift shop I found a great book about putting up jams and jellies. Even though the author weirdly refers to herself in the third person, The Jamlady Cookbook is well researched and written and has a great variety of recipes for just about every fruit and fruit combination you never considered. The book is full of the technical information that makes canning possible and I highly recommend this book if you have a serious interest in jams, jellies and preserves. The other go-to book is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I finally replaced my thirty-five year old copy with a new and updated edition last summer. It is greatly expanded with a contemporary take on preserving and canning recipes.  Another must-have book.