"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Be Jammin'!

We picked strawberries this past weekend at our local u-pick strawberry farm. Such a highlight of the year! I always make enough strawberry freezer jam to last us all winter and pretty much every time we get out a new jar we have a conversation about how good the jam is and how when it is June, we'll go pick more together. I am part squirrel, I swear, there's a manic little rodent thing in my soul that is mad for storing away goods. I love to pick and dry and can and freeze and all the other things one can do to fruits and nuts and berries and mushrooms. One of the hardest things about our annual strawberry pick for me is stopping. There are so many berries and I could pick for hours...days maybe, I've never tested my resolve.

When I was a little girl, I always rallied all my younger sisters (all four of them) and marched them down the road with baskets in hand to the top of a meadow on a two-track where wild strawberries grew. We'd pick every last wild strawberry we could find, and then I'd come home with my greedy little hoard of tiny berries and I'd make wild berry jam. My siblings were incredibly tolerant of my driving really, that's love. I hope I didn't injure any of their psyches too deeply, I still think gratefully about their faithful support of my obsession every year when we go picking big, abundant domestic berries.

It was important to the little girl me to be out there in the field on my hands and knees every summer, with all my sisters around me, rolling those tiny red bits into our baskets. I looked forward to it every year, it made me feel frugal and special and I felt really loved by my little sisters for their dedicated picking, even though it wasn't their personal dream. I don't think I could have made wild strawberry jam by myself, but many hands made light enough work that we could pull it off. And I felt like I had rubies in my pantry after I'd jarred up a glittering jar or two, all full of our tiny, hard earned prizes.
 Delicious, and mommy-friendly level of work recipe for the strawberry pie I made with the "leftovers," can be found right here!
I was lucky to marry a man who loves fresh fruit and u-picking almost as much as I do. He's absorbed my foraging love and eats my canned goods with gusto. (I love you A!) He marks strawberry season and cherry season and peach picking in his calendar and makes sure that we schedule each picking event. And my little boys have now the joined the team, energetic pickers, even little Nib plucking berries and saying smilingly "Hep! Hep!" ( Baby-speak for "I help, Mommy!") And my squirrel-mommy heart swells. Such a good life.


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