Somehow the heavy raspberry harvest overlapped the end of the heavy strawberry harvest this year. I prefer to pick both every day, to get the best quality berries, but I’ve had to settle for switching off so that I have time to process and freeze my haul each day. I have faith that the strawberries are tapering off, though — tonight I only got a little over five pounds. Yesterday’s raspberry pick, on the other hand, was up to eight.

On the plus side, this convergence allows me to say things like “Would you like raspberries or strawberries for breakfast this morning?” to the kids. Easiest. Breakfast. Ever.

However, it’s possible that we have slightly too much production. We still had a couple bags of both strawberries and raspberries in the freezer. Clearly I need to be more aggressive making berry-ish things during the year. (Dave is happy with our recent Raspberry Breakfast Bar experiment, and has requested them again.) This is a mission that I’m happy to take on. Right now I’m working my way through Smitten Kitchen, which, just as an example, has enough cake recipes that they have to be divided between “everyday” cakes and “celebration” cakes. Normally cake is not my favorite food, but put enough fruit in it and I can be very, very happy.

In the meantime, we know what to do with leftover berries: make wine. Dave’s trying a strawberry wine and I’m trying a raspberry one. This division is pure coincidence, not a friendly competition. They’ll go to join the pear, apple, blackberry and cherry wines still finishing their secondary fermentations in the shop. I also have a jam day scheduled soon, probably to coincide with the next batch of Dilly Snap Peas I put up.

Speaking of peas, I don’t think I planted enough of them. I’ve only done eleven pints of the pickled snap peas, and not to point fingers at anyone, but that’s pretty much Nathan’s fault. The token shelling peas I planted for him to munch on have turned out to be horribly insufficient, and he’s routinely raiding my snap peas for the biggest ones so that he can crack them open, eat all the peas, and then throw the shell away. “You’re supposed to eat the shell!” I tell him, to no avail. At this very moment there is an overflowing bowl of pea shells — some from shelling peas, some from snap peas — in front of him from his evening snack. On the one hand: it’s hard to get bent out of shape about a four-year-old wanting to eat vegetables. On the other hand: I want to pickle those!

New this year (to me, at least) has been garlic scapes. I went way out on a limb (pretty adventurous, yes?) and planted some hardneck garlic this year, figuring that even if they don’t store as well as the softnecks, we’d probably polish them off plenty quick enough. And lo and behold, I was confronted with garlic scapes this spring. They are fantastic lightly steamed and finished with butter and parmesan, the same way we do our asparagus. But my favorite use so far has been scape pesto. I am not a big fan of basil pesto, but I am a big fan of garlic, and holy cow this was worth trying. It’s decent on pasta but absolutely fantastic as a salad dressing; said salad then needs nothing more to complete it but a snowy heap of very finely-grated parmesan on top.


The Baby Video Has Made An Impact

(during a conversation about bendy straws, which somehow took a left turn — only partially my fault)

Nathan (to me): Ryan has been feeling sick in the morning.

Me (to Ryan, suspecting this is imaginary): Really? That’s too bad. Do you think you’re pregnant?

Ryan: Yeah!

Nathan: What’s pregnant?

Me (wondering how they’ve watched the baby development video two dozen times without picking this fact up): Pregnant is when you’re going to have a baby.

Nathan: Oh. (to Ryan, with gentle concern) Ryan, have you missed your period?

Clearly they’re learning stuff from this video. Sure, they’re missing key pieces of information about, say, the age and gender requirements for being pregnant, but I’m sure that will come in time.


From Nathan: I like this video. It shows how to make a baby.

Context: He was watching a video about the process of a baby’s development, from fertilized egg to birth. Realizing that really cleared things up.

Tasting Summer

This morning, while the mini dutch babies were baking, I headed out to our front yard to get a few strawberries as an accompaniment. The warmer weather is really bringing these babies on.

It’s time to start freezing some of these little guys. Our frozen strawberries from last year (10 gallons!) has kept us in smoothies, sauces and jams all the way through the winter. There’s nothing like that sweet burst of juice from a fresh berry, though. Man, I’m glad they’re back. So is Ryan. In this picture he managed a perfect James Bond expression — if James Bond were two years old and prone to making suave gestures with a strawberry in his hand.

Nathan seems able to discern the ripe berries from the unripe, too. This is not as easy as it sounds, since as I’ve mentioned before, I inherited fairly stringent requirements from my dad. But Nathan is doing well. The other day he refused a strawberry I offered him on the grounds that it was “too orange-y.” I was both piqued (it wasn’t orange-y) and proud.

Ryan, on the other hand, is completely hopeless at distinguishing subtle shades of red, and has been banned from berry-picking without supervision.

Dessert tonight: scones with crushed strawberry sauce. Oh, and the dutch babies were really good with the strawberries, too.

Dirt – The Best Toy