Saturday, July 5, 2008

blueberries for Bug

I lost track of the days this week. On Monday we'd planned to go see baby chicks at the home of The Egg Man, our church friend who supplies us with beautiful blue, green and brown speckled eggs. Unfortunately that was Vomit Day. Tuesday we were going to go to a public pool on the other side of town that has lots of slides and "fun stuff". I'm not exactly sure what they have, since Tuesday was Exhaustion Day and we didn't go. Wednesday became Get Errands Run Day, and Friday was coming up quickly, so Thursday became Pick a Field Trip day. We called our Egg Man and our friends and tried to rearrange a visit to the baby chicks but that fell through, so I called Blueberry Farmer Friend and arranged for blueberry picking instead.

My friend has boys ages 5 and 3 and an 18 month daughter. She had space for all of us in her minivan, so we planned to drive together. The blueberry farm is pretty far away, so she was going to aim for 9am-ish. I phoned her just before 10am saying "the boys were worried that she'd forgotten" and she said they'd had "a morning" (what mom doesn't understand that?!) and it'd be another ten minutes or so before they could leave. A mutual friend phoned and asked our plans, then asked to join us. She said she'd hurry her kids along so they wouldn't be much behind us. Friend One called at 10:30 to say they were having "some difficulties" but were on their way. It was clear we now needed some lunch. I had nothing substantial to take- a squeeze yogurt and a cheese stick each, plus crackers and graham crackers and the packs of goldfish we'd originally packed. She showed up after 11 and I took a deep breath.

Her baby started screaming about half an hour into the trip, but fortunately fell asleep at some point. I was reminded how hard it is when they can't yet talk. End of baby fix. Meanwhile Friend 2 called to see how far behind she was, and was surprised to hear she was ahead of us. No problem, she had a picnic and they'd wait at the farm. After following directions very close to "turn right two miles before the blue barn they tore down" we found the U-Pick farm and met up.

The kids were already tired and hungry, so crabbiness set in quickly in the heat. I force fed Bug and he calmed down and started to enjoy the blueberry picking. Pick, plunk, remove, eat. Pick, plunk, remove, eat. The boy turned blue and never had a single blueberry to contribute to my bucket! Pook became a great worker and filled a good sized container. I worked as fast as I could, knowing that the younger kids would expire before mine and my time was limited.

The kids got distracted by a tour of the farm, given by ten year old farmer daughter. She showed them the chickens, guinea hens and geese, and the three cows. Named: Cheeseburger, Filet and Round Steak. (Not gonna make the mistake of getting attached apparently!) They learned about the "Aklectric" fence to keep bobcats (!) away from the chickens and the presence of rat snakes and king snakes on the farm. Bug will be talking about that for a long time, I predict. I took the chance to pick more berries with the moms.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until after the bathroom excursion of six children in poor Farmer Friend's home that I saw the bushes right by her house. They were smaller bushes but covered with huge berries. We were ready to stop picking and get ready to leave but I found myself addicted. I kept seeing more, bigger and more fabulous berries and just had to have them. I'm sure I gathered several more pints after we "stopped" picking. At final count I paid for 1 1/2 gallons of berries ($15). We didn't weigh Bug (an additional $5?)

I'd forgotten we were starting on a holiday weekend. Rush hour never came into my planning, since 1. I'd lost track of days, 2. it wasn't a Friday, and 3. it was supposed to be just after lunch as we headed home. But a Holiday Rush Hour it was. The youngest three fell asleep and we prayed for semi-smooth traffic. Then Bug woke. Too soon. Tired and hungry. And crabby. He screamed for the next hour of driving, calming only when he recognized the streets by our home. I tried to pay for part of the gas money but could only come up with $3 in change to offer her.

We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast the next morning but I still haven't made my favorite dump pie.

Melt 3/4 c. butter in oven proof pan, mix 1 cup self rising flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk together and pour over butter. Do not stir. Add 2 cups fruit on top. Bake at 350' for about 30 minutes.


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