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Today in My History

2000:  Stressed? Who's Stressed?
2001:  at the Drive-In
2002:  Pride Goeth Before the Fall
2003:  Boink
2004:  Ok, Well Maybe One More
2005:  My New Role
2006An Appointment with Death

2007:  From L-empress
2008:  Crying to John Denver
2009:  A Birthday and an "Old" Friend


BITTER HACK
Hunter Gatherer


Books Read in 2010
 
Updated: 5/28
"
The School of Essential Ingredients"


Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10)

And Then I Ate


VIDEO OF THE DAY/WEEK


Reunion: Class of 1960 from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

On You Tube


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SVHS Reunion


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BLACKBERRY SUMMER

8 June 2010

Our friend Sue posted a status entry on Facebook:

OMG! Blackberry crop is ready...was just handed a first sample. Some days, being married to a plant guy really has it's benefits!

and then she followed that with a message to me which said

I told Jim about your weekly ice cream and he would like to offer you a pint of blackberries, I'm coming into town tonight and would drop them off?

I'd kind of gotten out of the routine of making ice cream weekly, but for blackberries, it was a good excuse to go back again.  I thanked her profusely.

In the evening she stopped by with a big plate of huge juicy looking blackberries.   As it turned out, I decided to try a recipe for blackberry waffles, which were so good we had double helpings and so there weren't enough berries left to make blackberry ice cream, but that's OK, we thoroughly enjoyed the waffles.

bwaffles.jpg (15829 bytes)

I can't think of blackberries without thinking of summers visiting my grandmother, my mother's mother.

My grandparents lived in Inverness when it was a much sleepier town than it is now.  They had an acre of land on which there was a little house, a yard for raising chickens, a field that I remember being filled with corn, houses for two of my aunts and their families, and a big strawberry patch that you could see out the kitchen window. 

There was also a wall of blackberry bushes that lined the corn field.   On hot summer afternoons, we (my sister and I and whichever other cousins happened to be around) would stand in the warm field with our buckets and pick blackberries, our nostrils filled with the scent of the berries as they squished in our fingers. I was always afraid of the bees that buzzed around us while we worked, but the desire for all the goodies Grandma could prepare with those berries kept me from quitting.

The berries were big and fat and dark and juicy and we probably ate as many as ever made it into the buckets, sweet blackberry juice running down our chin and onto our clothes.  I'm sure the adults were thrilled to have us out in the field picking berries, because it gave us something to do!

Our fingers would be purple with juice stains when we finished and carried our full buckets into the back porch of the house, where they would sit until Grandma could bake a pie.

Grandma always had a package of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies stored on the shelves above the berries. I liked to sneak out onto the porch and crush one of the soft berries between two cookies, making my own quasi-berry shortcake.  Probably where I learned how to sneak food!  (Is it any wonder that I was put on my first diet at age 10.)

Inverness is still pretty rustic, but the roadway is a bit less a slow, winding overgrown path and more a real highway.  When I was little, we would drive through Armstrong woods, which, in the summertime, always had a lot of blackberry bushes along the side of the highway.  There was also a place where you could stop and get cold water running into a kind of a fountain from a stream somewhere.  We liked to stop and pick berries and have some of the ice cold water. 

Several times we vacationed at Boyes Hot Springs, near Sonoma.   Again, there were berry bushes everywhere and we all would go out and pick berries.   Of course, the most spectacular berry-picking expedition occurred when my mother went with a couple of other adults and was picking berries down a steep hill, only to discover that she was standing in a hornet's nest.  The others in the group dropped their berries and rolled down to the creek at the bottom of the hill when the angry bees swarmed out and began attacking.  My mother, determined not to let her work go to waste climbed the hill, bees stinging her all the way.  She was pretty lumpy for days, but didn't spill a single berry.  A virgo to the very end!

PHOTO OF THE DAY

blackberries.jpg (84960 bytes)

This makes my mouth water just looking at it!

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