Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You can take the girl out of the country and more

...but I don't think you can ever really take the country out of the girl. I headed back out to the farm this evening and picked another 5 lbs of blueberries. Its much quicker picking without my "helpers." It was almost as fun listening to the other people and their theories on the best way to pick. There are two distinct camps--pick everything that is ripe off one bush before moving on is the first. These people will scan the bush up one side and down the other not leaving a single ripe berry. Then there are the random pickers, they kind of mosey from bush to bush picking a little here and a little there. With the girls I followed the first method, it gave them some goals to work towards. Tonight I picked a little here and a little there--mostly going deep into the bushes for untouched berries that took a little work to get to or at the very top of the bushes where it took a little doing to bring them down to pick them. I was reminded that you can't be in too big a hurry or the really good ripe ones will fall off onto the ground--something to be said for slowing down, taking your time and experiencing the journey as well as the rewards. I stopped at the farm store and got a few more green beans and some just pulled onions as well. I am really trying to focus more on local food this summer.

On the way home from said berry picking I stopped and bought a canning pot and rack. I am determined to make some pickles this summer with local pickling cucumbers. My grandmother made fabulous sweet pickles. They were bright green from a little added food coloring and so sweet. My father used the juice as his ingredient in potato and pasta salads. I've never braved canning before so wish me luck! I also requested the recipe for this great frozen pizza sauce my mom made when we had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with. If I hit the jackpot on tomatoes I might try canning a few quarts of those as well. In the serious 'burbs canning supplies aren't that easy to come by believe it or not!

Finally, I heard this story today and had to pass it on. The receptionist at work is a dear sweet woman who is in her early 70s. She is about the nicest person you will ever meet. She's been at the company for many, many years--she used to work with punch cards if that tells you anything. Gman stopped to get me for lunch on Monday and she was beside herself, a young friend of her family was dying of breast cancer that had spread. They called the whole family in saying she only had hours to live as her liver was shutting down. It was obvious that she was distraught over the impending loss. She stopped me this morning and told me that shortly after the announcement that she had hours to live another group of doctors came in and cleared everyone out but the woman and her husband. They had been pouring over her medical records and noticed that there was a sign of a fungal infection in the early days after she was admitted. No one had paid attention. This can sometimes cause it to look like the liver is shutting down. They started a treatment and her numbers had miraculously fallen over night. The nurses were running to get the doctors every time new lab work came back because they couldn't believe what they were seeing. I really felt like this, in combination with what I've been reading lately from Especially Heather, Schmutzie, and Toddler Planet was a reminder to slow down and appreciate what I have...every. single. day. You can join in supporting WhyMommy in her fight against inflammatory breast cancer by adding the Team WhyMommy button. Head on over to Canape Sun to get your button. She is starting chemo at 8:30 AM on Thursday, keep her in your thoughts.


Ann(ie) said...

Yup. Probably was a reminder. We have to remember to do that b/c you just never know.

I wish you and your family continued good health, girl.


Tree said...

Thanks for the reminder. I think my vacation helped me to remember that.

I cannot wait to hear about the canning! What are the plans for the blueberries? How about drying some? Jam? What else?

Heather said...

I made freezer jam, not bad, PDQ says very blueberry-y. I put some in the freezer on baking sheets so they freeze up individually and we can use them for whatever. Made the pound cake (recipe a few posts down) and will make more to freeze. Maybe some muffins?

Paul Champagne said...

Some of my fondest memories are when my dad would take us strawberry picking ... wish I could pass that on to my kids, but I moved to West Texas and picking cotton just wouldn't be the same.

Heather said...

Strawberries are WAY easier than blueberries, the buggers are so little! I grew up across the street from a u-pick strawberry place and my folks still live there. There must be *something* besides cotton to pick in West Texas?

Gretchen said...

Canning... how fun! Let us know how it goes. I have to wait here a bit longer for things to be in season.

Also, I am a random picker. Heh.