You'd be right in thinking that I am including this photo of Tiny a little gratuitously. (See the artistic contrast of grubby boy with fresh picked flower?) It really has little to do with the topic of today's post.

Except if you look in the top righthand corner.

Wild violets.

These wild violets represent my first real foray into foraging in Canada. Sure there was once an idyllic afternoon spent picking plump blueberries in an overgrown graveyard in Salvage, Newfoundland. But, really, that's almost the stuff of gothic romance novels, not real life. No, no, in real life you stumble across a reference to violet jam while avoiding your real work and then begin to wonder whether this could bridge a gap between real work and, well, something more necessary. Like poetry. Or beauty. Serendipity. Goodness.

A little research later (more avoiding of real work), and it was confirmed. The little purple flowers that compete for space between grass, dandelions, and clover in our backyard, are, indeed, wild violets.

Our early spring crop was not going to yield the two cups required of jam, and so the search began. It will be a while before I can look at green patches—city parks, sidewalk verges, cracks in the pavement—without searching for little pops of purple. However, on an evening walk by the river, we found them—carpeting, flowing, filling, growing—growing, growing everywhere. You can almost imagine it. I should have been in a flowing white dress with a basket.

Of course, I wasn't. (That's what happens when poetry goes on in real life. Instead, I was dressed as I was with a dog puppet expertly tucked under one arm, an actual dog tramping and trundling, and a blue bowl, too small for the task at hand.)

You do what you can with poetry.

While jam seems inevitable at this point, it was not to be. The pesky matter of a sign claiming they (curse them) would be spraying pesticides for Japanese knotweed, was just ambiguous enough to bring doubt as to time and place. Those beautiful, abundant violets were, necessarily, abandoned.

But not so the plans for jam. A few days of foraging fields (soccer), front yards (other people's), and backyards (our own) and we were back in business.

Et, voilà! Or should I say, And, Violets! (Jam, that is).

Worth it, don't you think?


  1. I actually bought a long, flowing dress and a basket, to be suitably attired for a similar foray many years ago. When I was young and romantic, not jaded and disillusioned like now! Well, just a little bit...
    Is that LILAC in the vase on the sill? The most heavenly scent...
    Wonderful pics, love that the end of Tiny's nose is yellow!!

    1. Yes, our neighbour has a lilac tree and gave us a spray that morning. I couldn't resist getting them into the shot as well. The kitchen smells gorgeous.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. i must de-lurk to tell you how much I love everything about this post. I love the wild violets - we have them too, but I have never thought to make jam from them (although I jam many other things). I love that you forage. I love your lilacs. And I really admire your photographs. They are lovely, and beautifully composed.
    But mostly, I am very glad that R found you, and that you seem so well suited to one another, and so happy. One of these days, I will have to actually meet you in person! Tell R to get on that… : )

  4. It's so lovely to hear from you, Catherine. And to hear such sweet things! Looking forward to meeting up one day. I'll get R on to it ;-)