Every so often you do something that takes you back to childhood. Lately, my every-so-oftens have been coming pretty frequently. Today, for example, was a wonderful day spent with my MIL, picking strawberries and going "yard saling."

The farm where I picked berries as a child was biking distance from our house, but we always drove, since we picked so many berries. They handed out cunning little woven baskets, and into the fields we went. I remember eating almost as many berries as I picked, my mom teasing, "You're going to have to pay for an extra basket if you don't quit eating them!" as she popped a ripe berry into her mouth. The sweet taste of springtime is never more evident than in that very first fresh strawberry. The crush of the bright flesh against the roof of my mouth, the sweet juice on my fingertips...

All this I relived as I stepped into that patch today. We quickly picked our five gallons, and turned back to the barn to pay for our cache. Though the sun was hot, the breeze blew at the exact moments I most needed to be refreshed, and my floppy sunhat protected my face and shoulders from the strong noontime rays.

The strawberry farm is right down the road from where POSSLQ grew up, and we had a lovely visit with Mama Louise this afternoon. Such a lovely visit, in fact, that I came home with a brand new pressure canner! I've never canned before, but I'm expecting a bounty of veggies from the garden, and I plan to eat every drop of my produce, so preserve I must. I also got to meet this interesting plant in Mama Louise's garden - a Voodoo Lily. MIL called it a "stink plant," and that's right on the mark... It smells like roadkill!

Speaking of preserving, my strawberry adventure didn't end at the patch. Mom made strawberry jam several summers of my childhood, and I wanted to try it myself. As soon as I got home, I started capping and washing berries, separating them into "jamming berry" and "eating berry" piles. In no time, I had six jars of jam, and loads of berries left over, so I froze some, then sliced some for the dehydrator, pureed some for fruit roll-ems, and (of course) left a bowl for eating right away.

I feel so very self-sufficient today - I can eat my strawberries for the next year!


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