As readers of Mama Bird Diaries may have heard, our venture to the farm to pick strawberries was a roaring success. I came home not just with thirty tons of delicious fruit; but a bonus. I now held visions of my husband filtered through a dusty new light.
Just a couple of hours with the chickens and voila, Dave had morphed into the farmer of my dreams. A precious vision.
Do not be fooled though, picking is tough work. We squawked, we squatted, we picked and we tasted our little hearts out for well over an hour.
We sweated it out beneath a still-blazing setting sun, but oh the berries we picked. Late into the night strawberries covered every horizontal surface of the kitchen.
And sadly, mosquito bites covered every inch of Dave and the girls. I’ve warned them about being so darn sweet. The flying bloodsuckers took a pass on me; I just knew good things would come of my bitter skin and foul tasting blood.
While the girls and dad got down to work on the farm, I got busy with my camera. Somehow poor Bessy got it into her cud-chewing brain that I was the big agent she’d ordered up from Hollywood. You know I love the cows, but this bountiful bovine kept striking poses until I agreed to click-her. She hopes to make it to the big screen one day.
But really, enough with the gratuitous pictures of the cow. Word on green street was that these berries had to be handled, and quickly. The shelf life of a fresh, red-all-the-way-through berry is teeny tiny, which left me up way past my bedtime sorting and handling when really what I required was a soak in a whirlpool and a decent massage for oy my back was aching! Never-the-less come morning I woke with the crowing roosters. I donned my bonnet, knocked the clothes against some rocks in the stream, churned the butter, and then got down to work:
We made strawberry jam.
And strawberry puree (with visions of strawberry daiquiris dancing in our heads.)
And strawberry bread.
And strawberry ice cream with dark chocolate chips.
We froze about a gallon or so of the berries straight up, and left the rest to sit smugly on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Every minute or so I walk by and reach in to grab one. As the berry bursts on my tongue I think of Grandpa Terry. For years my wonderful grandfather bemoaned the state of the supermarket strawberry. ‘In the old days,’ he’d say, ‘berries were red through and through.’ Oh Grandpa, how I wish you could see the bright red juice dripping down the smiling faces of your great-granddaughters.