Good Morning from blistery, wintery Prince Edward Island

It is definitely a time for a warm cuppa of "hot chocolate." Go get one, I'll wait.

Watch this fun video, Where do I enjoy Hot Chocolate? 

Thank you for allowing me to spend this time with you.

I have been always interested in human behaviour and the human condition.

Someone gave me a jar of strawberry jam way back in 1977 and since life was never the same.

As a young man, I was searching for my purpose. A positive purpose. I wanted to direct my zest for doing things towards making a positive difference.

“You can either choose to wait around and hope life gives you what you want—or you can choose to jump up and put in the work to make your dream come true.”  Oscar Auliq-Ice

When I open a jar of preserves I have an urge to inhale the aroma. If you order ours, please open and take a deep breathe first. 

When we take the time to smell and savour the moment, it is like a time capsule. It hopefully takes us to memories associated with a time of year or to memories of nature and or family time.

When I made the decision to start the adventure of making “jam” for a living. I need to know more about it. I used to go to the grocery stores and watch people buying “jam”.

Once they had made their choice and placed it in the cart, I would approach them and start a conversation. After introducing myself, I introduced them to my dream of wanting to make preserves for a living. I then would ask if they would mind telling me why they bought that particular brand.

Two stories I remember, which can still make me emotional.

One elderly gentleman had put a jar of Robertson’s Golden Shred Marmalade in his cart. There is No judgment made on my part, but his cart was not filled with expensive items. Yet this was the most expensive marmalade on the shelf and now in his cart. I was curious about why he purchased this one.

He began to tell me of his armed service during World War in Britain. And how they served this brand of marmalade several times a day to the troops.

I asked if he liked it, he said it was ok, but the memory was the reason he purchased it. I tear up now as I remember him telling the story. He was elderly and frail but he had his memory and his marmalade.

Another time, I watched a middle-aged woman put a jar of Guest raspberry jam in her cart. This got my “questioner” antennas up I had to know why.

After introducing myself and my dream and once she got over the shock of this crazy kid asking why she purchased that jar, she opened up.

She shared with me that she came from a poor family but that her Dad was a good provider and a good Dad. He would always try and make things special for the children. The family always had toast with Guest Strawberry jam for breakfast. When the bottle was empty, Dad would not let it be wasted. He always made something special for the children.

Her Dad would take cold milk, fill the jar and dance around the kitchen shaking the jarred concoction. When he finished his dance he would pour the “strawberry shake” into glasses for the children to enjoy.

Congratulations to this Dad for putting such a memory into his daughter.

Speaking of Dad’s, Coldplay recently dropped a new album on the world and I must say, I am enjoying it.

There are many songs that I enjoy, this song Daddy hits me.
Daddy, are you out there?
Daddy, won't you come and play?
Daddy, do you not care?
Is there nothing that you wanna say?
I know
You're hurting too
But I need you, I do
Daddy, if you're out there
Daddy, all I want to say
You're so far away
Oh, you're so far away
That's okay, it's okay
I'm okay
The songwriter, Chris Martin shared that this song is partly about how he feels about himself as a dad. About being a bit too absent when touring. It’s a lot to do with certain people in his life, their dads have either left or are not really engaged. And it also was about learning about the criminal justice system. The problem of mass incarceration which he has been learning a lot about as well. He was thinking about all those dads who have been taken from their kids and kids removed from their dads.

To the woman who shared the story of her Dad and the “strawberry shake”, I hope all is well and thank you for the story.

After finishing cooking school in Toronto, I looked for another job. I already had a full time one but with 37 hours of school time now available I had to do something productive.
Lo, and behold reading the help wanted section at the "Manpower Office". ( think that name existed as our federal employment centre.)
I found a woman looking for someone to help with her jam-making business. Making this is a shorty, I’ll say that she hired me and I started to learn. But what I did learn was to make “jam”, took a lot of sugar.
I decided in 1982, that I would try and figure out how to make “jam” without sugar or at least with as little as possible. Again, short story on this today. We did achieve it through a lot of trial and error. It is still a challenge but we are up to it every day.

Since starting the business, it is so nice to see our preserves used as food gifts. Bringing memories of days past or at least memories of trips to Prince Edward Island. 

(Warning: Shameless promotion ahead.)

It is an affordable treat that is less expensive than a bottle of wine and the added bonus of memories in a jar.

I would love to hear your "jam" stories. If you comment, I won't share if you don't want me to. Or you can just hit reply to the newsletter and it comes to me. 

Well, time to go, warm the car, gather up the blue bags, head to the waste depot, and then the farmers market.
To our American friends, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
We are currently getting a bit of old man winter hitting us this morning, so I am not sure I will get where I want to go. So to all be safe and be nice out there.

I have been listening to an oldie but goodie. George Winston's December. 

iTunes Notes: Not all great Christmas recordings are by the old crooners. Pianist George Winston’s 1982 album December—which falls between other seasonal albums Autumn and Summer—is a touching study of mood and consonance, giving off airy sonorities

Sample Listen Here

With love from Prince Edward Island,
A man was putting up a knotty pine wall in the living room. His young son was curious.
“What are those holes for?” he asked.
“They’re knotholes,” replied the father.
“If they’re not holes,” the boy asked puzzled, “Then what are they?”