My Friend, Laura Ingalls Wilder

I'd like you to meet my friend, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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Okay, she's really named Monica. You may remember her from the time she upstaged my tiramisu cupcakes with her homemade peach pie. She was one of the first teacher friends I made when I got my first real job. At first she was kinda mean to me, but it was mostly just because she doesn't mess around when it comes to teaching and learning and children and she had to figure out whether or not I knew what I was doing. Once she realized I was legit, she respected me and got nicer. And then we became friends. 

Since I first met her, Monica has taken up all sorts of Little House On The Prairie-type projects, including knitting her own socks.

Since cherries were so cheap, she invited me over one morning last week to make cherry jam.

I showed up at about noon and got right to work on the cherry-pitting business. And yes, that frizzy low-bun mess is my favorite summertime 'do.    

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If you've ever canned your own jam, you know how much of a process it is. Monica took over the stirring when it really started to boil. She didn't want me to get burned.

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I ladled jam into the jars like a boss.

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"I grew tomatoes from my own seeds, which is really not impressive if you're from the 1800s. But...we're not."

Yep, this tomato plant grew from seeds taken from the tomatoes that she GREW LAST YEAR.  

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While we waited for the jars to pop, Monica made me a mojito with mint she grew herself, too. 

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Oh, and a couple scoops of the blackberry ice cream she made from scratch. 

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I asked Monica where to even buy a boiling pot this big, as though they're hard to come by (because, yes, I'm that clueless about such things). 

She said: "Wal-Mart".

Ha.

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Then she pulled each of the jars out...

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and let me take some photos.

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And then she insisted that I take enough to share with my parents home with me. Seriously, if the apocalypse happens, I'm going to Monica's. She'll know what to do.

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And maybe one day, if I decide to start a food blog, she'll teach me everything she knows. That's one thing I know she's good at.

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