We're eight pounds of strawberries richer than we were this morning. Piper, Calder and I went to the strawberry patch this morning!
We're fortunate to have an organic u-pick farm close to us. I wanted to take pictures in the patch but thought I should acknowledge my limits - carrying limits that is. I had Calder on my back already and hoped to be leaving with a berry heavy tray and thought the camera would just be an 'unnecessary' burden. No need to worry, as we loaded into the car Piper said to me, 'we'll come back'. I agree!
Piper had a red mouth, hands and streaks down both arms from running juices by the time we loaded into the car to head home. In the beginning she ate half of what I picked. Slightly frustrating. But she slowed as we went on and we came home with a nearly full tray.
I stood at the sink cleaning, hulling and putting up the berries until the soles of my feet hurt, my hands stained red. I was happy for it. Pleased because of the joy my current work would bring to my family later in the year. Smoothies in December or strawberry shortcake in March. Grateful that my mom did this for our family and gave me the itch to do the same for mine. I remember the giddiness I had last year as I filled the top shelf of my pantry with jars. The jars with their pretty contents stacked neatly in rows, beautiful. The same feeling I had when I would go into the cellar of my childhood home. Or when I, just this winter, discovered the cellar in my parents' farm. All that lovingly put up food in one place warms my heart.
I've decided not to make jam this year as I have in past years. We still have over a dozen jars left from last year. I think that will more than tide us over till next strawberry season. Instead I've frozen them for whatever strikes our fancy later. Now that my freezer is free of breast milk I have the room. For now we'll enjoy fresh berries with our meals and snacks.