Control Issues

Every gardener has a garden style.  Some people like neat and orderly; others want it wild and natural.  I tend to fall into the latter category.  I like a well-filled garden.  I don’t want to see empty spaces of soil between rows.  I don’t much like rows, although row-planting works best for some plants, like beans and peas.  I like to plant ground crops in patches, a patch of potatoes bordered by a patch of pumpkins, for instance.  I don’t care if the pumpkins overrun the potatoes.  I’ll harvest them about the same time, so I don’t have to get into either patch to pick anything while the plants are actively growing.  I usually mulch these crops too, so I don’t have to do much, if any, weeding.

This year, I have volunteer broccoli growing between my young blueberry bushes.  The blueberries aren’t very big, and only two of them bore fruit this year.  I saw that wasted space and had to put something in it.  I didn’t want the broccoli to stay where it was (yes, that’s a control issue, but I learned my lesson about letting broccoli grow in the same space as tomatoes), so I transplanted it out of the tomato box bed.  I grow my tomatoes and peppers in raised box beds, and I tuck things like basil, garlic, shallots, spinach, and lettuce (and once, some broccoli) in the spaces between the larger plants or around the edges of the raised beds.  This is what it looked like in the spring.


I think it looks pretty, all the different textures and colors of plants growing together, and I get the benefits of companion planting.  I think you could say I’m not a big control freak when it comes to the garden.  I don’t worry about a weed, or two, or even a dozen, although I’ll pull them if I can get to them.  I don’t care about straight lines or tidy corners.  I don’t really like monoculture.  And as my back has grown ever more crooked and painful in recent years, I’ve had to accept that I can’t keep my garden looking like my parents’ garden used to look, even if I wanted to.  My garden is a reflection of me:  curved, flawed, but productive.

In fact, I think you could say that my garden is teaching me how to let go a little more each day.  My garden reminds me that I am not in control of everything, nor do I need to be.  The garden is capable of ruling itself.  I plant seeds, I water, I feed my soil and the worms, I cultivate when I have to and mulch everywhere I can, but the garden essentially takes care of itself.

And there are always surprises, like the hybrid squash that popped up in the middle of the volunteer potatoes.  Looks like we missed some of both when we harvested last year.  I hadn’t planned to grow anything this year in that strip along the blackberries and raspberries because I’m trying to keep a dry border between the berries and the rest of the garden to prevent root spread.   The squash will be edible; whether or not it’s good will be another thing.  But my mama taught me not to turn my nose up at a gift.  I’ll figure out something to do with it, because that’s what I do.


I dug some of those potatoes for 4th of July potato salad, and I’ll probably harvest about 40 lbs. of potatoes from the volunteers alone.  (My secret?  Make sure your husband misses a whole row of potatoes when he’s digging them up in the fall.  Works every time.)  A pair of tomato seedlings appeared in the center of the garden, in that patch I’m trying to dry out to get rid of the raspberries that were choking out everything else.  (Okay, so I do have a few control issues left!)  I transplanted them, but I haven’t been able to get to them to pick (they’re cherries) because the squash has so outgrown its area.  That’s okay, too.  The birds will get the tomatoes, or they’ll drop the fruit, and I’ll have more volunteers next year.  I’m good with it, either way.


Over behind the mini-tomato box, there are some volunteer carrots.  I had carrots growing nearby two years ago.  We missed one when we dug the last of them from under the snow that year.  Last year, that root bloomed and set seeds, and this spring, they sprouted here and there. I left them, and not long ago, my carrot-loving grandson, Bryce, got to pull them up for a treat.


And the snow peas that sprouted from the few that got away last year—well, we got several pickings from those plants, along with a few broccoli florets from those volunteers I transplanted between the blueberries.


These are the 4th of July new potatoes, red, russet, and Yukon Gold, alongside the snow peas and broccoli from volunteer plants.

These are the gifts my garden gives me, plants I did not earn with labor, intent, or standard practice.   Do these unexpected rewards alter my planting plan for the year?  Certainly.  But I’m willing to concede the ground to the garden, to accept the gifts, to enjoy the surprises the garden offers.  It’s good to let go of the need to control everything, because the truth is, a gardener is always at the mercy of forces, like weather, that he or she cannot control.  And isn’t this also true of life in general?  The garden teaches me that humility is a far greater virtue than efficiency.  Let the volunteers grow where they may.



A friend of mine has a more polite name for what I do.  She calls it “gleaning.”  But the simple truth is, I am a scavenger.  I scavenge all kinds of things.  It’s a habit of mind, of process.  I grew up this way.  Often, it’s food I’m scavenging, but not always.

Last spring, Dennis and I were returning from town and had to stop at the light.  He pointed to the truck ahead of us and said, “Looks like somebody tore down an old fence and is taking the wood to the dump.”  I took a good look and got all excited.

“I can use that stuff,” I said.  I want to build a retaining wall in the front yard, and when I saw those old cedar posts, I thought they would be perfect.  “I wonder if he’d take it to our house instead of the dump.”

Dennis thought I was crazy.  But I said it wouldn’t hurt to ask the man.  If he gave it to us, he wouldn’t have to pay the dump fees.  So we passed him on the hill, then turned into the dump and waited for him.  He was an older man, and he looked wary when I motioned him over to the side of the road at the dump entrance, but he rolled his window down.  I made my pitch, and he said he was going to use his free dump day to get rid of the wood.  “Oh,” I said, utterly crestfallen.

“But if you’ll use it, I’d rather give it to you,” he added.  So he followed us home, and he and Dennis unloaded the wood out by the greenhouse.  We introduced ourselves, and I offered him gas money for going the extra ten miles out of his way, but he wouldn’t take it.  He wanted to look at the greenhouse, so I offered him some of my beautiful romaine that was growing inside.  And that’s the story of how I got a load of cedar posts for a bag of lettuce.


When I was a child, my mother and father struggled to make ends meet.  It was a challenge to put food on the table for five people (and often we had uninvited guests, who were always made welcome), especially when there was no work for a logger in the rainy season.  My father always put in a big garden, and my mother learned to can and freeze the produce because it was a way to make sure there’d be some food in the lean winters.  Mama also scavenged fruit from abandoned orchards or backyard trees.  She made applesauce, apple butter, and pear butter from fruit that nobody else wanted, and gallons of blackberry jelly.  Once, someone gave her a pig’s head, and she made hogshead cheese from it.  The thing scared me half to death when I came home and found it sitting on top of the washing machine in the laundry room.  I remember being horrified by the very idea of making anything out of a head.  Now, it makes me proud that she was so resourceful.  As the youngest of ten children, she didn’t grow up learning how to cook or preserve or even to garden.  She learned it all after she was married at the “old” age of 31.  She learned the arts of scavenging, gardening, and preserving because she had to, because that was how she could provide for her family.

I don’t have to scavenge to put food on the table for my family, but I’m always on the lookout for things that nobody else wants, things I can put to use.  I hate waste.  I hate to see fruit falling off the trees and rotting on the ground because nobody wants to pick it and deal with it.  It frustrates me to hear on the news that millions of people are hungry when I see food all around me that no one is gathering.  Why aren’t hungry people out there picking this stuff, like my mama did?  Where’s the gumption? I can hear Mama saying.  I wonder too.

A few weeks ago, Dennis and I, and our son and his two children, went to the Northern California coast, where I grew up, to fish.  While we were there, we picked blackberries, which were just ripening.  The grandchildren were delighted to pick all the berries they could reach.  Kaedynce (8) put hers in a bag for blackberry pancakes the next day, but Bryce (6), predictably, ate every single one he picked.  Growing in the middle of one blackberry patch was an apple tree festooned with big, beautiful, green apples with blushing red cheeks.  They looked like Gravensteins to me, my favorite pie apple.  I have a Grav at home, but these apples were far ahead of those on my little tree.  So in addition to the berries, we took home a couple dozen apples.  If I lived there, I’d go back in September and pick as many apples as I could reach.  Such flavor!


Two weeks ago, I made the 14 mile trip to town to pick fruit.  There’s an apricot tree in a sidewalk square near the old Superior Court building, now occupied by another agency.  I stopped by on Saturday and knocked on the door, just to make sure nobody would mind if picked, but I wasn’t really concerned that anyone would.  It’s been a good fruit summer in the valley, and all the apricot trees have borne heavily.  Apricots are lying on sidewalks all over town, and people are complaining about the mess.  I got my ladder out of my car, set it up on the sidewalk, and picked a bag of apricots, but I couldn’t reach the really good ones.  So the next week, Dennis and I went back to town, to the old court building and the old jail, where there is also an apricot tree.  He set the ladder up, and we picked about 20 pounds of apricots, which I turned into 17 pints of jam.


I also spotted an apricot tree and apple tree, both loaded with fruit, on a strip of mowed grass that fronts the river.  There are no houses or fencing along that piece, but it was obvious that someone was taking care of the land.  I stopped at the neighboring house, introduced myself, and asked the resident, an older gentleman, if he knew who owned that strip of land.  He gave me the owner’s name but said he didn’t know if the owner would mind if I picked fruit from his apricot tree.  “But I have some plums,” the man said, “if you’d like to pick them.  I hate to see them go to waste.”

He led me to the tree in his side yard.  We chatted while I picked, and I learned that his name was Bob, and he had been the vice-principal at the high school, but had retired before my children attended there.  He and his wife had planted the plum tree many years ago, a 30 ft. tall Santa Rosa plum that hung heavy with fruit.  It was a hot day, and my shirt was damp with sweat when I finished.

I picked a bag of plums, thanked Bob, and said I would bring him back a jar of jam.  He quite clearly wasn’t sure I really would, so it was fun to surprise him the following week with jam from his plums as well as blackberry jelly from my garden.  He allowed me to pick more plums, and two days later, I was back with a jar of Chinese plum sauce as thanks for his generosity.


I’m always scavenging something, or gleaning, if you prefer.  My gains are more than material.  I make connections with like-minded people who aren’t happy with the culture of the disposable that permeates our technology-driven society.  Often these are people a generation older than myself, folks who remember hard times and what had to be done to get through them.  They hold a wisdom we’d do well to ponder and emulate.

This winter, when we’re eating plum and apricot jam on homemade bread and looking out at the new retaining wall, I’ll tell my grandkids these stories and hope that they absorb the lesson.  Scavengers, hold your heads high.  Some sweetness is only born of sweat.

Canning, Recipes

Life Is Like a Bowl of . . . Blackberries

Picking wild blackberries requires some special preparations.  You have to be dressed properly, and you need the right equipment.  There are some rules to follow.  You have to accept the risks involved, but there are rewards, like blackberry cordial, blackberry syrup, and blackberry jelly.

Dressing down is must when picking blackberries:  your oldest jeans, a sturdy long-sleeved shirt that you won’t cry over if it gets snagged, a hat, thick socks, and boots or tough athletic shoes.  Why all these precautions?  Because there just might be no thornier plant than a wild blackberry.


Where I grew up, on the northern California coast, two kinds of wild blackberries grow.  The true, wild blackberry is a small-leaved, thin, trailing vine that produces a small, sweet, yet tangy berry.  They are getting hard to find because the other “wild” blackberry, the ones I grew up picking and calling Himalaya blackberries, are taking over and choking out the original wild blackberry.  And it’s far too late to eradicate the Himalaya berries, so we might as well enjoy what they produce.  What they produce is twelve- foot-long runner canes armored with half-inch long, wickedly curved thorns, and large, delicious, sweet blackberries.  If it were possible to wear gloves while picking these blackberries, I’d recommend it, because just about every surface of the plant is lined with thorns, large and small, not just the canes.  The bearing spurs are covered with thorns, the veins down the middle of the leaves are lined with thorns, and each little berry stem is coated with them.  There is no way to avoid being scratched when you are picking these berries.  That’s one of the risks you accept when you decide to harvest blackberries.

As far as I can tell, these are the berries which grow in my garden, and therein lies a tale.  When we moved into our house 27 years ago, I found blackberry plants in the flower garden.  What gives? I thought.  I moved them into the garden proper along the fence and fought the roots in the flower garden (I still am digging them up!) while I tried to nurture the ones I’d transplanted.  They never really got enough water until I expanded the garden and began to water areas I’d never paid a whole lot of attention to before.  Suddenly, after 15 years of producing only a few small, sour berries I left for the birds, those blackberry vines took off.  Now they cover a twenty foot section of garden fence, and I pick between 6-10 gallons of berries from them every year, with a lot more going to the birds.

For a month, while the berries are ripening and I am picking, my hands look like I practice self-torture.  There’s no way to avoid it.  If I don’t get out early enough in the morning, before it gets so hot that I can’t tolerate a long-sleeved shirt, my arms look the same way.  And my legs.  So there’s one of the rules for successful blackberrying.  Pick while it’s cool, so you can dress properly.

The sturdy shoes are important because you may have to climb a ladder or step inside the patch to pick the best berries.  The best berries, the largest, sweetest, and ripest, are always just that step, that stretch, away.  It’s a challenge to try to get inside the patch without doing too much damage to it.  In the wild on the coast, nobody cares; there are so many berries, a little temporary damage doesn’t matter.  And if you want to see damage, just look at a blackberry patch after a bear has been through it!  But it’s a different call when you’re picking your own patch.  You don’t want to do anything to lessen the harvest next year.  So you need the right tools.

I already mentioned a ladder.  It’s an essential.  When I was a kid, we’d drag old boards to the patch and set them up like bridges, so we could “walk the plank” to the highest and best berries.  If I tried that now, I’d end up face-planted in the patch for sure, and believe me, a blackberry patch is no place to fall into.  Besides the ladder, a hook is useful, like this one.


My handyman husband fashioned this hook for me last year.  It’s useful for bringing the fruiting spurs toward you to pick, so you don’t have to lean too far out over all those thorns.  (I also used it for picking apples from the top of my little tree last year.)  If you don’t have any wire handy, a straightened coat hanger will work.  And you need a bucket or a wide-bottomed bowl to put your berries in.  It’s important that your container have a stable bottom, because the worst thing in the world is to put all that effort into picking those delicious berries, just to have them spill in the dirt, or worse, in the middle of the patch where you can’t get to them to pick them up again.  Whatever you use to hold your berries while picking, if you can have both hands free, it’s a bonus.

When you are surrounded by plants which can protect themselves, and it’s amazing how blackberries do that, sending out huge, thick runner canes which grow over the blossoms after they’ve been pollinated, effectively creating a thorny fence fit to keep a princess from all comers, balance is key.  Obviously, physical balance is important.  Do not fall into the blackberry canes!


But there’s another kind of balance, and it has to do with risk and reward.

As I said before, the biggest, juiciest, ripest, best berries are always going to be just out of reach.  You can try to go after them; you can even get a few of them, but at some point, you have to realize that some of them will remain out of reach.  Accept this.  If you don’t, bad things befall.  (There’s that word again.)  There’s a line between giving it your best effort and becoming obsessive.  I have stopped asking Dennis to help me pick blackberries because he simply cannot avoid the obsession.  He can’t let those very top, very best berries go.  He’ll chop his way through the patch if he has to, sacrificing berries now green which will be nearly as good as those few he can’t reach, just to get to the biggest ones.  He’ll waste a gallon of future berries to get a pint of the best.  I can’t justify it.  Sometimes, you have to let those berries go.  Leave them to the birds.  They’ll enjoy what you can’t reach, and the berries won’t be wasted.

Finally, if that perfect blackberry drops into your cupped palm, the one so sweet and juicy just the slightest pressure would have it bursting in your hand, there’s only one thing to do.  Pop it into your mouth.

It strikes me that picking blackberries is a lot like life.  You have to dress appropriately for the job, make sure you have the right tools, reach for your goals, but keep your balance and perspective.  Play by the rules, and you’ll be okay.  Go too far, and you’ll incur damage of one kind or another.  And you have to stop and enjoy the gift of the moment as well as the rewards of your labors.  You can see what kinds of things I think about when I’m out picking blackberries.

Here are two wonderful old recipes I’m delighted to share, and a hint about where to find another.  The first is a recipe my sister’s father-in-law gave me twenty years ago.  He had been making blackberry cordial from this recipe for at least thirty years before he gave it to me.  I have no idea where he got the recipe, but this stuff is delicious!

Tip’s Blackberry Cordial

9 cups blackberry juice

2 cups sugar

3 cups vodka or brandy

Bring blackberry juice and sugar to low boil and simmer for 8 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes and add vodka or brandy.  Pour into clean bottles (brandy or vodka bottles work well for this) and cap tightly.  Stores indefinitely.


The next recipe is one I’ve used for over 30 years.  It was given to me by a friend from the church we attended in Klamath, CA, for several years.

Ruth’s Blackberry Syrup

1 cup juice or crushed fruit

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

Bring all ingredients to a hard boil; boil for 30 seconds.  Pour into hot, sterilized jars.  Process 5 min. in boiling water bath to seal.

This year, I plan to try replacing the corn syrup in this recipe with agave nectar.  To do that, I’ll reduce the sugar to ¾ cup, so the basic ratio would be 1 c. blackberry juice, ¾ c. sugar, 1 c. agave nectar.  This recipe works well with all kinds of fruit juices.  I have made it with raspberry and strawberry as well.  For strawberry, simply puree the fruit very finely but do not strain it.

For the best blackberry jelly without pectin and half the sugar, try Liana Krissoff’s “Old Fashioned Blackberry Jelly” in her book, Canning for a New Generation.  This jelly tastes amazingly fresh and fruity because the recipe calls for just enough sugar to sweeten, not overwhelm, the blackberry flavor.

I hope you’re lucky enough to find a patch of wild blackberries to pick.  For me, there is no sweeter fruit than a sun-warmed blackberry just plucked off that thorny stem.


Canning, Recipes, Uncategorized

Pickles with Joel

It used to be pickles for Joel, because he likes these pickles so much.  My kids grew up eating home-canned pickles, jellies and jams, sauerkraut, green beans, all kinds of fruits, salmon, smoked fish, and venison.  But there were years in their adolescence when I was going to school, commuting 300-450 miles a week, and I didn’t do much canning.  My garden shrank to a couple of herb beds and 6 tomato plants each summer.  After Joel was married, he asked me to show him how to make the kosher dills he grew up loving.  “I’ll buy the pickling cucumbers, Mom, and I’ll help you,” he said.  And that’s how I got started making pickles again, with Joel’s help.

In time, I expanded my garden space and began to grow pickling cucumbers again.  Not a lot, because they take a lot of room, so I don’t make a lot of pickles.  Maybe only a dozen jars or so over the season, just enough to always have a supply on hand for family feasts or to put in tuna salad.  When my husband built my little greenhouse two years ago, I was able to start a big batch of pickling cucumbers for Joel, who by this time had his own garden.  Last year, for Christmas, I gave Joel his own water bath canner so he wouldn’t have to borrow mine (well, mostly so that I wouldn’t have to go over to his house to get mine back after he’d borrowed it).  He has made pickles and dilly beans, two of his favorite things, by himself, but this past week, I suggested a joint pickling session.  We’d returned from a short family vacation to the coast and found we both had cucumbers ready to pickle.  That’s how Joel came to be in my kitchen again, loading jars, and saying things like, “Oh, you pour boiling water on your lids?  I didn’t remember that.  I think I sterilized my jars, but I don’t think I gave it ten minutes.  I was in a hurry.”  So I guess it was time for another pickling lesson after all.


Pickling cucumbers are easy to grow.  They need 4-6 feet of space in which to sprawl, though, so if your garden space is limited, it might be best to buy your cucumbers. You can buy pickling cucumbers at large grocery stores or farmer’s markets, so if you have a yen for a crunchy, homemade kosher dill, get a few cukes and give Joel’s favorite pickle recipe a try.  It makes the easiest and tastiest pickle I’ve ever come across.

Kosher Dills

Scrub cucumbers and soak for 1-2 hrs. in ice water bath before processing.  My mother always said this helps makes the pickle crisper, but I only do it when the pickles are warm from the garden.  If I’ve picked them and stored them in the fridge for a day or so, I sometimes skip the ice water bath.

Always choose the smallest cukes you can find.  They will make the crispest pickles.  But if, like me, you grow your own and a few get outsized on you, just cut them into spears.  They won’t be as crisp as the smaller ones, but you can just save the spears for chopping up in tuna and potato salad and the like.  I have also put a few spears into the food processor for a whirl when I wanted dill relish, for hamburgers, for instance.

Start water heating in water bath canner.  Wash jars and sterilize by boiling them for 10 min.  Keep hot in water bath canner while you finish getting cucumbers ready.

Dry cukes after ice bath and cut off blossom ends.  Pack hot, sterilized jars (either quarts or pints) with cukes.

Mix brine and bring to boil:  3 cups water, 1 cup vinegar, ¼ cup salt.

Pour boiling water over flats and keep warm on low heat.

To each quart jar, add 1 clove of peeled garlic, 1 head fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill seeds, and ½ teaspoon powdered alum (for pints, use ¼ teaspoon alum and ½ tablespoon dried dill seeds in each jar).  (See note on alum below.) If you like spicy dills, you can add a serrano or jalapeno pepper to each jar as well.  I have also added whole peppercorns, a teaspoon per jar, more if you like more spice.

As soon as brine comes to the boil, ladle it over filled jars.  (Do not let brine continue to boil. It will boil the vinegar away, which will result in a weak brine, which can result in spoilage.)  Top jars with heated flats and clean rings.  Place loaded jars in canner and cover.  Boil for 10 minutes, starting timer after water returns to full boil.  (See note on processing time below.)


Remove jars to clean towel. Place jars at least two inches apart to cool and do not touch them or the lids until they are completely cooled, at least 12 hrs.  If lids haven’t sealed (and you can tell if they have sealed if the dimple in the middle is indented, and if you can’t lift the flat by prying gently with a fingernail), you can refrigerate the jars.  Let unsealed jars sit in fridge for at least 1 month before opening.  Let sealed jars pickle for at least 3 months before opening.  If you live in a very humid climate, it’s best to store your jars with the rings removed.  Otherwise, they can rust onto the jar and be difficult to get off. Never stack your jars one on top of the other.  The seals can be damaged by the weight of the top jar.



Alum is a crisping agent.  It’s getting hard to find these days.  I used to get it at Safeway, but the last time I looked, it wasn’t there.  Not enough people are making homemade pickles these days!  I finally found it at WinCo in Reno last year.  In the meantime, I picked up some Pickle Crisp at our local WalMart store.  This is a brand of calcium chloride, another crisping agent which you use just like alum, adding it to each jar individually.  (Don’t use both alum and calcium chloride, use one or the other, and follow the directions on the jar for Pickle Crisp!)  I made four jars this last pickling session with Pickle Crisp to test it.  It should be a good test, because the cukes were pretty big, so if Pickle Crisp can help them, it will be a bonus.  It’ll be three months, at least, before I open a jar to taste them.  Other people add a grape leaf to each jar.  Grape leaves contain tannis which act as a crisping agent.  I don’t have access to grape leaves, so I haven’t tried this.  But here’s the deal:  If you get small pickling cucumbers, you will not need a crisping agent.  You can forego the alum or calcium chloride or grape leaves  altogether with this fresh pack, short process, “pickle in the jar” recipe.

Processing time:  Processing time refers to the time the food item spends immersed in a boiling water bath (or fully charged pressure canner).  That’s why you have to count the time from the moment the water returns to a boil after the jars go into the canner.  The original Kosher Dills recipe, which I got from my mother, who got it from a friend when I was a teenager, and which has been used in my family for 40 years, called for no processing.  That’s right.  You just covered the cukes in the boiling brine, slapped those hot flats on, screwed down the rings really tight, and put the jars away once they’d cooled.  The jars weren’t supposed to seal because the brine is supposedly acidic enough and salty enough to kill off any bad bacteria, and botulism needs an air-tight environment to germinate.  I ate pickles and sauerkraut made this way for at least ten years.  Then I had children, one of them with a sour tooth, and suddenly, this method didn’t seem so safe.

I have experimented with processing times, and I’ve read a lot of pickle recipes.  The least amount of processing time I’ve ever seen for a fresh-pack pickle is 10 minutes.  Last year, I made this recipe using processing times of 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.  15 minutes results in a mushy pickle.  The 5 minute pickles were crisp and delicious, but I worried about letting my grandkids eat them, even though I felt no ill effects when I tested them.  The 10 minute pickles were also very good, with the spears a little mushier than those in the 5 minute jars, but the small pickles were just as good.  So I am processing all my pickles at 10 minutes this year, and my mind is easy about letting my little ones eat them.  The mind is a funny thing.

One last note about processing times:  If you live at altitude, you are supposed to add minutes to your processing times, depending on far above sea level you are.  Here’s a link that explains how much time you add based on what you are canning and your altitude:  http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/adjustments-for-highaltitude-canning.html.  I don’t do this with the Kosher Dills or my jellies and jams, so I suppose my 10 minute processed pickles are actually more like 6 minute pickles, but again, the mind is a funny thing, and I’m okay with it.  Go figure.