While Someone and Mum
We needed the shade, the Evil Genius and I, because we planned to go over to Mum's Very Nice Lady Neighbor's (VNLN fer short from now on, because I'm too lazy to type all that more than once) and pick blueberries. The lad mostly eats 'em as we go, but there is such a profusion of berries, he hardly makes a difference in the harvest.
When it looked cloudy enough, we trooped off, each carrying our container to be filled. It was hot, even without direct sunlight!
Much to my delight, VNLN was not only home, but was approaching the bushed as we were, intent on a mid-day snack. How delightful, to walk out your door and grab a bite to eat! We chatted amiably about off-grid living, and green living, and our dreams of doing so; about gardening, about grass-fed meats, freezing and canning, and prepping. Turns out she has something of a prepper's mentality, although she'd never heard it given a name before. We'd stop now and them to pop some berries into our mouths. Have you ever had a blueberry right off the bush, still warm from the sun? Such a treat...
Bird took part in the conversation as only an seven-year-old little dude can, and he even contributed a few berries to my container! He and VNLN got on nicely, eventually coming to rest in chairs under her grape arbor, where they talked about grapes and what can be made from them, and listened to the thunder roll along in the distance.
Mum and Someone went off to the local lumberyard for some planks to use as ramps to get the mower up onto the truck, should it deign to ever start again.
I kept picking and dreaming about winning the lottery and buying the VNLN's land (it's for sale), putting green houses and gardens on it, letting her stay in her house, maybe the nascent beginning of an intentional community. She likes the idea, anyway, and I think she'd happily stay if someone was there to help with some gardening, preserving, and maintenance. She doesn't really want to sell...just feels like it's too much for her. I need to win that lottery.
We had an abrupt end to our idyll when a wasp rather...erm...waspishly...stung Bird on his thumb. He let out a yell and cried a little, but he calmed down fairly quickly, only asking that I make it better. VNLN offered us a ride back to Mum's, which made Bird smile a little (VNLN is something of an Andretti, and the driveways are bumpy, so it was quite a ride), and we soaked his poor thumb in warm and then cold water until it didn't hurt quite as much. It began to rain, so we read some more, then played Plants Versus Zombies, and he felt better.
Mum and Someone came back and had to run through a frog-strangler to get into the house - it was really coming down! They commiserated with Bird on his wounded digit, then went about their business with the mower - rain or no, that thing was being fixed!
Eventually, another friend came over and helped tweak the dang machine, and Bird allowed as how he could maybe come pick berries with me again. We left the others with the mower and happily frolicked among the bushes until it was time to go (which time was indicated when Someone drove past VNLN's driveway in Mum's truck, mower on the back,
and hollered "See you at home!").
Now I'm carefully sorting and freezing the berries, with plans to go back and get more, more, more. VNLN harvests 'em until she's sick of 'em, and is happy to share, so we'll have some nice summer-ripe berries come winter. Mmm...blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry coffee cake...sweet!
I like the idea of putting food by, and hope to learn how to preserve, make jellies and jams, and pickle in short order.
Speaking of berries...Someone hauled in a nice lot of tomatoes in the evening, and we made BLTs with some of our Yellow Jubilee darlings. I like 'em - they're mellow, a little tangy, and not as acidic as traditional 'maters. Someone threw together a salad with an assortment of red and yellow tomatoes and some fresh broccoli (store bought, alas, as we can't seem to get it to grow here, and anyway they aren't generally in season together, broccoli and tomatoes) and a bit of Italian dressing, and he's a happy fellow.
The little guy's thumb is just fine, by the way.
So what do you like fresh from the garden?