Monday, July 11, 2005

I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill

On Friday, my mother fed Fat Baby his first blackberry. He gobbled it down and peered into her bowl to see what else was there. Then she gave him his first blueberry and he was hooked, shoving whole handfuls into his mouth.

Saturday morning, The Carnivore and I tossed Fat Baby into his wagon and we took a walk down the long driveway to pick up the newspapers. Along the way, The Carnivore would pick a blackberry every few feet out of the bushes growing in the ditch. He would pop them into Fat Baby's mouth and earn a smile each time. When we got back to the house, I remembered the invitation our next-door property owner had issued two summers back, when we first moved out here, to come pick from his blueberry bushes. With Fat Baby still in his wagon, we hiked through the weeds and came upon 25 or so of the BIGGEST, most fruit-laden, bushes I've seen in years. The Carnivore and I piled handfuls into the wagon with Fat Baby and filled up a large mixing bowl with fruit without even making a dent in the harvest. For a while I contemplated some of the blueberry recipes that I've been sitting on, but I just couldn't bear to alter the fresh berries' natural state.

I have special memories of picking berries when I was a kid, spending time in the woods with my mom, sweltering in the heat. I was born obsessive and I remember watching mom eat off the bushes, not thinking to pick any for later. Even if she did fill a bowl, she would inevitably empty it by the time we were home. I, however, would plan ahead, rationing the berries so they would last as long as possible. Many a time, I bought my way off of restrictions by hoarding my berries until mom's stash was long gone. As long as I held out long enough, I could occasionally bargain my way off of future restrictions. It is memories like that one that make me glad I have a son instead of a manipulative teenage daughter.

Fat Baby and I spent most of the weekend subsisting on the fat, warm berries (the diapers have been doozies!). If the bushes still look this good by next weekend, maybe I'll get up the gumption to try making a blueberry coffee cake.

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