Today is a holiday in Canada–called Family Day in BC–because we decided the long winter stretch between New Year’s and Easter was too long. In a happy coincidence, we’ve had the warmest, sunniest weather this weekend since winter began.

The heartiest herbs have survived this cold, cold winter in my grandma’s garden, so I have bay leaves, sage, and rosemary to dry. The blueberries in the freezer are from Grandpa’s friend’s farm in Richmond. The peaches and strawberries come from Keromeos, a few hours east where the best fruit in the country grows. The raspberries are out beside the fence, and the apples are from the tree at the edge of the garden.

Some gets canned; most goes straight into the freezer. When there’s no more room, Grandma pulls out as many bags of fruit as will fit in her big pot and cooks it all down into what she calls “mixed berry jam”, though there’s a little bit of everything in it. Big chunks of fruit, and it’s a deep purple colour.

It’s a lifetime of summer days, hot sun, long hours, heavy buckets, dirty hands, burned noses, and pie with whipped cream in a repurposed jelly jar.