Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jackpot

I usually go strawberry picking during my "spring fling" week, but this spring has been very erratic. 

A cold wet wet wet (did I say wet?) March and then suddenly 80-90 degrees with no rain in sight at the beginning of April.

Everything popped during those first few weeks (including my allergies) and I thought... "Oh man, screwed again".... anticipating a sudden jump from Winter to the heat of a North Carolina Summer.

But then everything went cold again or at least it seemed like that to me.

"It's an Ohio Spring." SM observes.  Coffee cup in hand. Bare toes "squinching" against the cold of the deck boards.

"Lush and green and full." I agree. "Even the lawn looks like there's actually grass growing."

I hate grass.  Well...I probably shouldn't put it that way.  I think that grass is overrated.  Grass is a "money-pit."  Nice, green well kept lawns are the blue ribbon standard in suburbia.  It's expected.   (Scott Lawn vans creep by applying their chemicals to the gorgeous green carpets of my neighbors lawns.)

Except mine.  Rebel that I am, I refuse to bend!  Look at my dandelions! Admire my weeds! 

(I will allow the standard "curb appeal" front yard but...HA! the backyard belongs to me!  I will slowly take it over with bushes and berries and veggies and trees..."Oh My".)

What people don't get is that by June/July those same green lush yards are nice and brown and dried out from the heat.  Happens every year. (Well...there I go exaggerating again.)  Last year was an "Ohio summer" as SM puts it.

(Disclaimer:  SM is a born and breed Buckeye.  He proudly wears his Ohio State ballcaps, tee and sweatshirts and ("gasp") waves the Big O Scarlett and Gray flag off our front porch every fall during football season.  ((I do like the Drums at the begining of the fight song.  GO BUCKS.))

"Strawberries" I intone.

"Too cold" he replies. "Hasn't been warm enough to ripen."

"But if I don't do it today (Friday) I'll have to go out with the masses next weekend." I whine. 

Oh the horror!  Massive invasion of butts sticking up in air, carelessly stomping and picking their way through the fields.  I don't know how farmers can stand it. 

Me, on the other hand...oh the joy!  "Hello my pretties!  Kiss Kiss!"  You see, if I had to pick the perfect plant for me it would be the strawberry.  It's beautiful. 

SM's is the tomato.  (Nobodys perfect). 

"No...you'd better wait."  SM says walking back into the house.  "Either that or go ask the "oracle."

The "oracle" is a neighbor friend of mine who knows everything that's going on in the hood.  If it's news to me, it's old news to her.  (I'm pretty sure that everyone has an "oracle" in their life.)

"What have you heard?" I ask ringing her up.

"Well...a friend from church went last weekend to the place you and I picked last year.  No good, she said...too early."  Confirming SM's opinion.

Waaaaa!  I stood watering the garden.  I can't let it go.  I so don't want to have to pick on the weekends.  Time to google local pick your owns.  I wasn't that impressed with the PYO we picked last year.  Maybe try someplace new. Hmmmm.

"Where are you going?" SM asked.

Ball cap on my head. Spare cash in my pocket.  "I'm going to check out another PYO.  It's about 20 miles away so this may be quick if the berries suck or I may be gone a few hours if they look good."

SM and I have married long enough to know that there's no point in arguing once one of us has our mind made up.  "Wanna come?  It'll be a pretty drive at least?"

"No, this ones yours."  (I think he just didn't want me to put him to work....)

So off I go. And I hit the Jackpot.

Beautiful fields.

Only 6-8 butts in sight.

I was sent into my own field where I could talk to "the pretties" in peace and not look like a nut job doing it.  1/2 hr later I've got my 5 buckets and a sense that "Life is Good".

Pretty sure most of us know the routine for putting up berries.  Here's some pics of my booty!


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