This morning while I was in the solar radiant-heated cellar/office, doing no more than any man has to do, there came a plaintive cry over the intercom. “Did you use any jelly? The new jelly is not good.”

The voice was not that of the upstairs maid but of my wife, Marsha, the chocoholic. I headed for the stairs …

I am more than strongly attracted to my wife, even though a wonderful antique thermometer mysteriously disappeared from the library during a recent purge. Nobody saw a thermometer. Nobody knows anything about a thermometer.

Her inability to remember seeing anything that mysteriously disappears is part of her charm. Cherished pants, coats, hats, gloves, sweaters – anything that evinces a bit of wear, or even neglect – is history. When the day comes that I go missing, authorities will be sorely taxed to find a body.

You might remember hearing me tell about the 1905 brass dog tag that was on the windowsill out in the entryway when she moved in here 20 years ago. I chanced to find it in the trash.

When I asked her how she could throw out a dog tag that had been undisturbed on the windowsill for more than 80 years, she said, “Well, what good is it?”

There is no arguing with her because her logic is always unassailable. She would throw out the letters her great-grandfather wrote to his mother after surviving a winter in the Donner Pass.

On any given day it is not unusual for 10 or more people to be sampling Marsha’s jelly, blueberry cake or some other delectable goody at our table because we have a bed and breakfast and many friends. Luckily for those friends, I often find the coats or sweaters they leave behind before my wife does.

But one day I had to deal with Sally Tuttle’s jacket, which she left draped over a dining room chair. Because it said “Made in the USA” on the label, I was tempted to keep it as a curiosity.

A Facebook friend familiar with my wife’s culinary prowess was recently shocked to discover that I am an outspoken fan of McDonald’s.

I don’t know why this should be so, because any old man who goes out to garage sales on a Saturday morning knows the location of every McDonald’s in his bailiwick. He might visit three of them in the course of a morning before he goes home. So I don’t understand why so many people knock McDonald’s.

When you are driving 1,700 miles in two days with your wife, you’d better believe that the only places you stop to gas up are next to a McDonald’s – because you don’t want to listen to your wife when she returns to the car after using a gas station restroom in Mississippi.

McDonald’s senior coffee is a bargain, although it is somewhat depressing when they don’t ask to see proof that you’re over 65. Those double arches are always a welcome sight on the horizon, so please don’t put them down. I’m probably not the only old Maine man who is living better because of McDonald’s, even though I don’t eat there.

And this morning, it’s a good thing I didn’t eat any apple jelly, because I was just told that “the apple jelly is not good.”

There were apple pancakes – pancakes with juicy, sweet, soft bits of apple in them – on the counter this morning, and I ate two for my midmorning breakfast. Because Marsha’s pancakes can be eaten as they come off the griddle, I did not use any of the new apple jelly, although it was invitingly open and a knife was nearby.

And here I must digress, for perhaps the first time in years, and mention that when she leaves me a fresh waffle on a plate on the counter, she always soaks it with syrup – syrup that she knows I would never pour on myself because her waffles, like her pancakes, can be rolled up into a sandwich and eaten as they come off the griddle. In other words, when it comes to sweets, my wife, Marsha, is not only an enabler but also a pusher.

Anyway, this morning I rushed upstairs to discover for myself if the apple jelly she made last week could be as bad as reported.

I had a spoonful and found that it had more texture than most jellies. But it was so sweet it hurt my jaws, and I quickly washed out my mouth with water.

My wife says that she would be ashamed to give away a jar because it is completely tasteless. This could happen to anyone who has burnt out their taste buds with couverture chocolate.

The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland and visited at his website:

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