A quick pop-in

Just popping in here quick. I don’t have much to say and my brain feels kind of fuzzy, probably because I was up too late watching Taxi Driver.

Right now I’m sitting on the green sofa. I just finished off a slice of blackberry pie and an iced coffee. And before that there was a plate of roasted corn and cherry tomatoes for me, and eggs (one duck), toast, and apples for the kids. The oven keeps clicking on and off—there’s granola in it. Fans are whirring, birds are twittering, and the noise machine is doing its thang.

This morning the kids and I went to the dam again in search of blackberries because just the thought of all those berries going to waste out there in the middle of nowhere kind of put me in a tizzy. More! More! More! my inside voice yelled at me. Go get ‘em!

So we did. We got a little over two gallons this time. They are sooo good, sweet, soft and melty, and thick with juicy sweetness. They kind of taste like honey.

We discovered a Really Good Picking Spot down close to the water where you can get six to ten berries in one swipe. I had to tear myself away, both literally and figuratively, since I had waded in way off the beaten path.

I grew up thinking that blackberries were junk fruit. My mother didn’t really like them (her distaste extended to red raspberries, too). Black raspberries were the only good raspberry berry, according to her. Even so, one year she put up 88 quarts of blackberries. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t like them?

I don’t harbor any such prejudices towards my berries. I love ’em all and am thrilled beyond measure with my berry patch find. I’m actively dreaming of more blackberry pie; there’s another recipe at the top of my mental queue and it looks like it might just be a winner. (Last night’s was good, but not good enough.)

hot pie on a hot, hazy afternoon

*I’m reading Watership Down to the kids. It’s slower than I thought it would be, and I’m getting kind of tired of reading about rabbits. But I might as well get used to it since it’s a long book and, well, all about rabbits. The kids like it.

*Last night I learned that some of my friends are addicted to Glee. I did not know this! I thought I was the only one watching the silly high school parody and therefore was a little embarrassed about my addiction. But the friends who are hooked are whip-smart intellectuals—one of them has read Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek THREE TIMES THIS WEEK. So to discover that she stays up till 1 am most mornings watching Glee made my day. Because this means that I’m a whip-smart intellectual, too, right? (Never mind that I’ve never read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.)

*It is dry and hot and the garden is officially going to pot. The flowerbeds are filled with giant weeds, but I can’t bring myself to weed them when it’s so dry. And we don’t mow during a drought so the yard is a wreck. We have become Those Neighbors That Everyone Is Embarrassed To Live Beside.

*I commented on SouleMama’s post about raising meat birds. At first some people were really upset by what I said (that we enjoy butchering day), but then some others chimed in to back me up. It’s an interesting group of readers over there. I like being one of them.

*We had the spring rolls for supper last night and no one liked them (except me). And I went shopping for the ingredients, did all that chopping, and made a scrumptious spicy peanut dipping sauce, too, and all for naught. I hate when that happens. Now I have a whole stack of rice wrappers. In order to use them up, I think I’ll have to fry them. Which should be pretty tasty, I think.

*I live for my daily cold bath. Lately I’ve been reading MFK Fisher’s book, The Art of Eating, while I chill. Did you know that the average male will, between the ages of 20 and 50, spend more than 800 days and nights eating? Some people find that disgusting, but just the thought of that much food—and getting to eat it all!—makes me feel safe and happy.

*Another interesting fact, though not food related: only 1 percent of blog readers leave a comment. Go on, folks, prove that statistic wrong! I dare you!

*Did you know that a big bag of Peanut M&Ms costs nearly five dollars? I did not. In spite of my sticker shock, I bought them anyway. And a bag of Twizzlers and assorted Snickers, too. Because Mr. Handsome was taking the two older kids to the Harry Potter movie (part of my daughter’s birthday present) and the kids insisted that large quantities of junk food were a vital part of the experience. So I indulged them. (And myself. Two of the bags were already open when I handed them over to the movie goers.)

This same time, years previous: Indian pilaf of rice and split peas


  • Jennifer Jo

    HOLY SMOKES, KIRSTEN! Yes! Go take a nap NOW!

    It sounds like you went the right way, but I'm not sure about all that creek crossing. Hmn…

    (Did you get a lot of berries?)

  • Kirsten

    I tried out your picking grounds today, and the blackberries were indeed lovely! Looking forward to cobbler.

    There was a small problem, though. My intrepid aunt and I hiked in from a pull-off that we thought was the right one, but had to cross the river four times on crossings that do not match your post (after the first shoe & sock change we just waded in shoes and all) before we reached the Plain of Snake-Concealing Weeds below the dam. We were tired but happy to find the berries by the time we scaled the dam.

    On the way back, we met a mother bear and her cubs. That's when we decided to hike back over the dam and throw ourselves on the mercy of strangers. Fortunately, some elderly honeymooners rescued us before we'd hiked more than half-way up the the access road.

    That means I get to take a nap this afternoon, right?

  • Starr

    I adore blackberries.

    I adore Glee.

    I would adore eating blackberry cobbler while watching Glee. (thank goodness for Netflix)

  • Cookie baker Lynn

    Up here blackberries are called junk berries. They grow everywhere as weeds. They're mighty tasty, but I don't care for their abundance of seeds. This year I might try making blackberry jelly.

    I love your random thoughts. You make me smile. 🙂

  • Goody

    OK here's a comment-I want to come and live with you. On more than one occasion I've mentioned this to my family, only to be met with, "But who will take care of us?" So I was wondering-could you handle three more? We'll help forage blackberries, and I've plucked more pin feathers off chickens in my life than I care to admit.

    I find your posts amusing, inspiring,and really honest. Homeschooling is hard work, but rare is the person that will admit it (on a public blog anyway).

    Goody @eattheblog

  • Marie M.

    88 quarts? 88 quarts of blackberries! Holy Moly, Batman. Stunned, I am stunned. How do you "put up" blackberries? Is it all jam? Yes, I'm a city slicker, ignorant in the ways of "putting up".

  • Mama Pea

    Okay, so I don't comment as often as I should. I think it's because your posts leave me in awe. You're such a fantastic writer that I end up thinking a lot about what you say and then don't know how to make a succinct, intelligent comment. So this is neither succinct nor intelligent.

    Don't get me started on people being aghast at raising and butchering animals. Do they think chicken comes from above sitting in a plastic tray wrapped with cling wrap?

    We can't grow blackberries here but our bestest neighbors have a cabin in Idaho and always bring us back scads of wild blackberries from there. Wild Blackberry Jam? Oh, my! So good.

    I've never seen Glee but will confess right here and now I'm hooked on Dancing with the Stars. There. I said it.

  • Mountaineer

    I've never seen Glee nor had I ever heard of it before learning that the cast of Glee, in terms of number of hit songs, has surpassed the Beatles and Elvis! Perhaps this is due to a "lowest common denominator effect" in our culture.

  • KTdid

    When I was a kid (a long long time ago) we had a big brambly mess of blackberry bushes (wild ones) growing on our property. I have great memories of throwing boards down on top of them and "walking the plank" to get to the berries.

    I understand the yearning for comments.
    This is mine. It's great fun to read your blog!


  • Jennifer Jo

    To all you new commenting dearies: you made my day.

    Margo, we made a stir-fry with the leftovers and it was good. Though I'm beginning to think that either I don't like rice noodles or I don't know how to make them.

    Daniel, Yes, we are growing weed…er, weedS. Lots of 'em, too.

  • Margo

    I'm jealous of your berry patch! I love ALL berries.

    I'm reading MFK Fisher right now too – How to Cook a Wolf. She's fantastic. Why can't people write like that anymore?

    We don't mow during droughts either. The grass takes care of itself.

    And I like SouleMama, but yeah, there are some very sensitive people over there. I like that SouleMama is gentle but firm about her family's naming the animals they eat. I still cannot imagine enjoying butchering day, though. Just so much blood and guts, I think (I've never been to any butchering at all).

  • Daniel

    “It is dry and hot and the garden is officially going to pot.”

    Does that mean you’re growing weed?

    Love your blog. And I promise I was planning to write this comment before I read about the comment statistic.

  • Unknown

    I love some berries too. My grandmother used to go blackberry picking every summer near the Oregon coast and made the best, the very best blackberry jelly ever! I sure do wish I could have me some. (Sigh)

    So I left a comment are you proud of me!?

  • Zoë

    Oh my goodness. I went and read all of those chicken comments. People need to lighten up! I didn't find your chicken post offensive, though maybe it helps that I know you and how you talk about things 🙂

  • Kate

    I also harbor a secret obsession with Glee (even though it's completely ridiculous and I despite some of the main characters), the music makes my soul happy.

    I would have loved your spring rolls.

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