Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sweet Days of Summers End

While typing this entry, I heard a character on television say, "Winston Churchill once said 'The further backward you can look the farther forward you can see.'
Okay.  I've been wanting to write this entry for the past few weeks, but I struggled with it and resisted, unable to share or reflect on the little things that enrich my life and bring me joy, when so many people have lost so much.  Is it guilt, or just the feeling that singing my happy song would seem insensitive or inappropriate at such a time as this?  Either way I need to ground myself again and reconnect with my souls appreciation for those simple joys in life.  Get back to life.

Back a couple of weeks.  Labor Day weekend camping trip at the lake.

The night air is cool--long sleeve shirt, long pants--cool.  Early morning the air is crisp, but not too cool for shorts and a t-shirt.  And the days are warm, rich with the warmth of a thousand days of my summer youth.  I feel it the minute the trailer door opens, it gently tingles my skin.  I smell it with that first intake of morning air, I feel so alive.  There is just something about that first breath of early morning summer air; it always takes me back in time. 

Outside the trailer door, just a few steps away is a trail lined with blackberry bushes heavily laden with summer fruit; vines dripping with hundreds of berries.  Berries so ripe they burst in your fingers when picked, staining the skin a deep bright red.

Picking blackberries requires long sleeve shirts and pants, as the vines and leaves are thick with sharp knife-like thorns that prick and scrap tender skin. Those parts of the bushes right on the path are over-picked; all the campers have berry picking on their 'To Do' list this weekend. The biggest, ripest and sweetest berries are easily seen, but not so easily reached; those are the berries hanging high, just out of reach. I spent two days dodging those demonic thorns while picking the sweetest berries. Finally, Sam and I came up with a system; he used his height to reach up and cut the whole clusters from the vine, while I sat on the ground and plucked the ripened berries off each freshly cut cluster. We ended up with just over five gallons of berries. Just enough to make a couple of batches of blackberry jam.  :)

Late summer and early fall is a busy time for me. Aside from baking zucchini
 bread, I've been making jellies and jams. I usually make concord grape jelly, but our grape vine had to be torn down this summer when we replaced the outside deck in July. :( Hopefully it will grow back in a couple of years. Not one to be deterred, I made blackberry jam, green pepper jelly, and pear honey (aka pear conserves). Lots of yummy sweets!

Across the street at the Christmas tree farm is a peach tree, just dripping with fruit. I've had my eyes on those peaches for the past couple of weeks now. If I'm feeling ambitious this weekend I might just try my hand at peach preserves.



robinngabster said...

I think you feel ambitious!  

I have never seen blackberries again like I did when we lived in Washington. Absolutely gorgeous and oh so big!!! My friend and I went picking too and we made some blackberry was so good we called it "liquid gold" and told the kids they couldn't have any.  :)   Lucky you...I miss that about the Washington/Idaho area.


karebear4x4 said...

It all sounds sooo wonderful....the camping, the berry picking and then jam making   maybe i should move back to washington~kbear

labdancer51 said...

Why is that I wonder ?  The best berries are always just out of reach however hard you stretch.  I fell in blackberry bushes as a child and will never forget the pain of having the thorns pulled out....OUCH!  The jams you have made sound delicious Dona! :-)

Sandra xxxx

tillysweetchops said...

Peach preserve is my favourite. I buy a French one. How lucky (and clever) you are to be able to make your own!

dcmeyer420 said...

Yummy! Can't stop drooling after I saw your jars of preserves. I wish I know how to do it. I am hungry and jealous...  

stupidsheetguy said...

What I wouldn't do for some home made peach have no idea...

LOL, great berry-on-the-hand pic!


cinisoul said...

You know, I have never had blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries in my entire life.  I keep saying that I am going to try them, but I never get around to it.

justaname4me2 said...

This is a beautiful entry! It is the little things, the sweet memories of finger stained hands, and the smell of fresh zuchinni bread that can rewind a mind during the times we need to refresh. Although times are tough, it is these type of memories that remind us all, keep us moving forward.
Thank you for sharing

pixiedustnme said...

I can almost taste them!  Let us know how the peaches go :-)

barbpinion said...

WOW! Your journal is so warm and inviting. I enjoyed taking a stroll through it. I invite you to visit two of mine when you have time.

mosie1944 said...

In Missouri, blackberry season is July.  In fact, with luck I can have blackberry pie on the 4th of July.

lurkynat said...

nice entry! beautiful berries!

alphawoman1 said...

I always wanted to learn how to can and make jellies and such. I'm afraid I would kill someone though. lol. Yours look wonderful! I love blackberry jam.

boiseladie said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time picking blackberries!  

deveil said...

You just brought back so many memories with this entry.  I loved helping my grandma gather the berries, She always made me a blackberry cobbler too.