Purple, Packing, Patching, and Picking

Lilacs in

Still working on moving.

Spackling choices at the store

Packing and patching and painting.

Cherries that are growing and still green
These cherries aren’t quite ready yet

But trying also to enjoy things and not get too bogged down.


We have picked asparagus and strawberries so far this season.

5 lbs box of picked strawberries

I tried to make strawberry jam without added pectin, but due to a number of errors ended up with 4 pints of strawberry sauce. Tastes great, but a little too runny for sandwiches. So far I have added it to yogurt. Maybe pancake topping will be the next experiment.

Hope everything is going well for you.

Photo Challenge: Good Day–Blackberries

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Picked blackberries in the morning and made jam in the afternoon. I don’t like blackberry jam, but I know several people who love it, so this will make nice gifts for them.

This is in response to this week’s theme: Today was a good day. The challenge asked us to create a Mesh gallery using their new app. I thought about trying it, but I just feel to busy right now to download and try something new. I’ve been neglecting my blog as it is. I don’t want to download and neglect something else. If they could integrate it into the WordPress interface I might use it.

Asparagus Picking Again; Apple Orchard Blooms

The asparagus rows. Some are thick and some grow thin. Pick whichever you prefer.
The asparagus rows. Some are thick and some grow thin. Pick whichever you prefer.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go asparagus picking again. Last year was my first time.

Nothing beats the taste of fresh asparagus, especially when it’s snapped off and eaten raw. I love the complexity of the flavor of raw, tender asparagus–there are slight hints of green bean and pea as well. Or maybe that’s just my palate thinking about other delicious spring time veggies.

Apple blossoms
Apple blossoms

While at the farm, I saw the apple orchard in full bloom.

The apple tree branches look woven together like an orchard-sized basket
The apple tree branches look woven together like an orchard-sized basket

It’s so interesting the way the trees look like they are almost sculpted into a fence.

Grab a bench, eat some lunch near the apple trees.
Grab a bench, eat some lunch near the apple trees.

Cheery Cherry Picking

We went back to the farm this week to pick my favorite fruit: cherries.

red cherries on a tree
Red, ripe, and ready to eat!

One month ago these trees were in bloom. Flowers are pretty, but I prefer to see trees like this, filled with fruit.

Cherries are so juicy, sweet, and luxurious. One thing I can’t figure out: How can the flavor be so concentrated and rich? I usually pop another one in my mouth and contemplate….

red cherries on a tree
Let me check to make sure these are ripe.

I learned from the farmer that cherries are a difficult crop to grow. The trees here are protected from the rain by an open-sided greenhouse structure. The arches overhead are covered with plastic to keep the rain from falling on the fruit. Too much rain will make the cherries burst.

cherries growing on a tree
Plastic overhead keeps the rain off the cherries

Another problem with growing cherries is that the birds also think they are a tasty treat. The plastic greenhouse-style roof that keeps the rain off is connected to nets that are staked into the ground. This helps keep the birds away from the trees. In addition to the nets, the farmers put up several speakers playing a very loud bird call. The farmer explained that it’s a distress call, so that when birds hear it they will stay away, thinking that something horrible is happening to one of their feathered friends over there.

flowers in front of the farm store
Flowers in front of the farm store

The combination of the 90° heat and the plastic tarps overhead made cherry picking a rather sweaty endeavor, but we were cheered by the delicious, juicy cherries and the baskets we brought home.

American flag and a flag with a strawberry
The farm also does strawberry picking.

Strawberry Picking at the Farm

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to go strawberry picking at a nearby farm. The weather was beautiful, the kids were in a good mood (for the most part), and things were just about perfect.

two pints of strawberries
Picked our own strawberries

My dad always loved strawberry picking, and my siblings and I spent many our Saturday mornings in June wandering through the strawberry patch of a local farm. If we were grumpy about having to leave our precious Saturday morning cartoons behind, we would forget it by the time we rode back home, returning with stained clothes, hands, and faces.

red and green strawberries growing
Some for today, some for tomorrow

My kids seemed to have fun. I hope they grow up to enjoy stuff like this and to appreciate what it means to get such fresh food. I suppose I took it for granted at the time but now can see how special it was to do that as a kid. It’s still special to do now.

a pint of strawberries in the sunshine
They were small but sweet

In the background are some apple trees. Picking apples was another tradition in our household growing up, and I still love to do that, too.

strawberry plants and apple trees
Strawberries in front, apples in the back

In just a few months, we’ll be eating fresh apples. I’ll come back for these guys when the time is right.

tiny apples growing
See you in September, baby apples!

Here are some of the farm’s peony bushes. I am still enjoying my bouquet that I brought home.

peony bushes
Peonies line the fences at the entrance to the farm.

I love the light pink and the white flowers. The dark pink is beautiful also, but I think the white is my current favorite. Probably because we didn’t have white ones at my parents’ house. They had several bushes of dark pink, with maybe one or two light pink plants.

white peonies
The mysterious white peony

So, I guess the white seems the most rare to me, followed by the light and dark pink. But no need to split hairs, I love them all!

Asparagus season is here! Plus thoughts on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Fresh asparagus is a treat. I picked my own for the first time this week and loved it. I had never tasted asparagus raw. Such a tender texture and fresh notes of green bean and pea. It will be difficult to go back to dull, woody, out-of-season, grocery-store asparagus now.

It’s time to pick asparagus.

Last year I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Until then, I hadn’t considered how or when it grew, and I found the author’s description of it fascinating. I imagined the reddish buds poking out of the ground in early spring, the root systems and clusters of sprouts, or the fern-like bushes that the unpicked stalks will become. Last year I missed the pick-your-own (PYO) season, and this week, after many months, it did not disappoint. Continue reading “Asparagus season is here! Plus thoughts on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”