Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Berries... Berries... and more Berries!

It is full-swing berry season around here, and I'm beginning to wonder if my fingers will be permanently berry-stained, and that is no joke!  I am so thankful that we live in a place where fresh berries are abounding in abundance.

Around the middle of June, strawberries begin to pop their happy faces up everywhere.  I planted 90 strawberry plants earlier this year, but knew that I would get a small crop this year as they don't have the root system to support a large crop.  Because our family loves strawberries ~ strawberry jam in particular ~ my daughter and I went to a local strawberry farm and picked strawberries for several hours.  We ended up with just over 25 pounds of strawberries!  I made 6 batches of strawberry jam... that is 42 bottles of jam to be exact, and I cannot even begin to tell you the satisfaction that comes with making this jam as it is a treat our family enjoys with homemade bread or biscuits.



Just seeing all those lovely jars lined up on the cabinet brought a smile to my face!


These are the strawberry plants that I had planted earlier this year.  Some of the plants produce strawberries all summer, and some produce strawberries only in June.  Because this is their first year, the crop will be small until their roots have a chance to grow.  I have been getting enough berries from these plants to use in my smoothies every morning, and for happy little treats as I water the garden, and that is pretty awesome.



We found wild strawberries growing in abundance up on the mountain, but since we had picked our fill of huckleberries for the day, we just enjoyed the taste of a few... and they were sweeter than honey!



Huckleberries... the berry of the mountains.  These berries have never been able to be commercially produced and for that reason, they remain a "delicacy" of sorts up here in the mountains.  Because they are a favorite of bears too, there is a bit of dangerous excitement that comes with picking huckleberries. Not to mention the fact that these very tasty berries have to each be picked individually, they don't generally grow in clusters.  This means that you have to work hard for every.single.berry that you pick!



The best part of huckleberry picking is the views that we enjoy whilst picking.   High up in the mountains, where the only noises you hear are the sounds of the chipmunk sassing, or the birds gentle calls, and the soft breezes of the wind as it passes through the trees, it is a real treat... not to mention the occasional treat of a berry oozing its goodness in your mouth as you pick!  


Huckleberries, precious purple gold!  If you wanted to make some extra cash, restaurants in the area pay anywhere from $30.00 to $50.00 a gallon for these huckleberries.  It took my daughter and I three hours, plus my son helping for one hour to pick a gallon and a half.  I would far rather have the berries at this point... it is a lot of hard work... and having our own huckleberry cobbler, muffins, pancakes is far more worthwhile than the extra $$.



However, if I was so inclined, and had the time, it would be a lovely pass-time to spend the day huckleberry picking, and make a few extra dollars at it!


My dear neighbor A. has a young pie cherry tree that had these beautiful cherries that were fully ripened.  She told me she had no intention of doing anything with the cherries, and asked me if I wanted them?  Really?  Oh, I was quite happy to go over and picked the cherries.  The cherries were just perfectly ripe, and I couldn't wait to can them up!


Back home, the next job was the pits!


After the cherries were pitted and washed...


I canned them up in a sugar syrup and hot water processed them.



I also had some cherries that I had picked during the same strawberry picking excursion earlier in the week, and so I went ahead and canned up all the cherries.  I made a cherry cobbler with the cherries that was absolutely delightful... oh my goodness!  I could eat these cherries all day long, they are so good! I did forget to take a picture of the cobbler, mostly because it got devoured almost as soon as it came out of the oven! However, the next one I make, I'll try to remember to get a picture, lol!


Blueberries!  Ah yes... the blueberries are in season here as well.  So much berry picking happening right now... can you see why my fingers feel like they are permanently stained bluish red, lol!


I think I might just turn into a berry!  The lovely berry farm close by to us is a U-pick and are open from daylight to dusk.  Blueberries there are huge, juicy and sweet.  A delight to pick!  I picked about 10 pounds of blueberries, and had to stop because time ran out.  However, I plan to go back and pick more soon.


Made a big batch of blueberry muffins with the blueberries... oh such yumminess!

We are making the most of the berry season that is going strong here right now. I hope to be back out in the berry field later this week to pick at least another 20 pounds of blueberries.  I will freeze the blueberries to use in smoothies, pies, cakes, cobblers, and whatever else suits my fancy... lol! The huckleberries have likewise been cleaned and frozen, and can be used in any recipe you use for blueberries.  I also plan to make huckleberry ice cream though... a special request by my family.  I am currently gathering raspberries out of my garden, but I keep forgetting to take a picture of them.  I will be freezing them as well.  Wild raspberries, or thimbleberries are ready right now too, and I would love to pick some of them, hopefully later this week.

So we are living in a "berry sweet" world right now... enjoying all the sweetness the season has to offer, along with all the busyness!

Speaking of busyness... the "busyness" of life never ends.  This weekend I am hosting a bridal shower for a dear friend who is getting married in August.   Dear daughter is in charge of the games, and I of the food and decor.  We are quite excited as we plan the event.  It is always wonderful to find a couple who love the Lord so much and who are beginning their new life together.  The bridal shower will wrap up another busy week, and then the last week of July will be here!!  It is hard to look at the calendar and see that it is the end of July, and we haven't even been swimming once yet this summer!!  I think that needs to change... and so hopefully we will find time soon to go down to the lake for a swim.

The lazy days of summer... where did that expression come from? In my world... it's the crazy days of summer, lol!  How about you? Are you having a lazy or a crazy summer?







33 comments:

  1. A berry sweet world indeed!! And yes!! Crazy, not lazy. I wish! ;)

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    1. We're not alone, I don't think! Summer is just a busy time! Sorry I'm so late responding... where has summer gone, lol!

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  2. Oh, Marilyn! Your post has made me quite eager for summertime! Ah, the joys that come from this delightful season...although it gets so terribly hot here that sometimes working in the outdoors is challenging... I am so glad to hear your lovely garden is producing so wonderfully! What a joy to harvest fresh vegetables grown in your backyard! OOH!
    I am very impiressed by all the strawberry jam you've been making...is there anything more satisfying than popping jars of homemade preserves in the pantry for enjoyment throughout the year?? We have just come to the last of our apricot jam which I made late last year...so you can imagine how eager we are for the warmer weather to arrive! I made two batches of marmalade only this season as I actually still have left over from last year...but I am sure that all the sugar in marmalade will keep it preserved for awhile longer! Ah...I love jam making, preserving, chutney making and baking ~ what a blessing to be at home doing that which we truly love!

    Enjoy the coming bridal shower! Oh, what a special occasion! I pray all goes well and that the lovely bride to be will be blessed as she prepares to enter the married state...such a precious time of life!

    Sending you oh, so much love today, Marilyn! Thank you for the wonderful inspiration today ~ it always brings a smile to my face to visit with you!
    Hugs always!
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. Oh dear Kelly-Anne, it is so joyous to anticipate the beginning hopes of spring and summer, and I hope your garden planning and canning/jamming endeavors are very blessed this year! It is truly so wonderful to be able to put away food for the cold winter months! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, things are busy, with the garden beginning to produce and always more food to put up! Hope you are blessed dear friend, and I will be by to visit with you soon :)

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  3. What a lovely sight are all those jars of jam standing all together! You have been a busy gal. I love all the berries that come with Summer. I can't wait for ours to start producing fruit....not long now. I am not familiar with Huckleberries, but they do look delicious. It must be rather blissful picking them with that glorious view before you. Have a most wonderful day at the shower, it does sound like fun. Though you will be a very tired gal by the time night time comes....but a happy one. Xx

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    1. Sorry that this response is almost a month delayed! I think I've had too much fun in the berry patch, lol! Appreciate your visit and always enjoyable comments Kim, they mean so much! Hope that your summer is blessed and full of goodness :) Hugs to you!

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  4. How lovely Marilyn!!! I so miss the country life...sigh...we were just discussing the prospect of getting back to the lifestyle...have a beautiful day friend. smiles

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can! Country life really is the best :) Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  5. Your beautiful filled jars look so yummy! So thankful you are able to do something you enjoy so much...and will keep enjoying in the months to come, as you and your dear family get to open those beautiful jars and partake of their contents together! Sending you much love and many blessings, sweet friend!

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The berries have been abundant this year due to all the wonderful rain we've gotten, so we have made the best of it! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can! Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  6. OH wow!!! So impressive, so yummy ... all that hard work pays off when you look at those gleaming jars packed with the fruit of your labor.

    Loved this post!

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can... and I may have spent a bit too much time in the berry patches, lol! :)

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  7. Good Morning!! I see you have been berry busy LOL
    What a gift to have so many fruits you can pick and use for now and later!
    There is just something about having our canning jars filled with the fruit of our labor (picking and canning them) And yes now where did that saying come from?? The Lazy days of summer, it must of been from someone floating in a boat going peacefully down a river ... HUGS Roxy Missing you!

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can! Country life really is the best :) It has been a busy but good summer, and I hope to stop by to visit you soon! Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  8. There is no such thing as lazy summer days! I think we work harder during these three months than any other time of year :0) what a lovely display of delicious fruit ... mari

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can! It is a joy to be able to have access to such a wonderful berry season, and we are making the best of it! :) Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  9. Hey girl! I've been meaning to email but no lazy days for me! Getting our fixer upper ready to move into has been a job and we've made a few unwelcome discoveries along the way. Praying our progress picks up and we can be ready to move by Aug 1st.
    I admire anyone who loves canning. I love to eat what's been canned ;) I used to can vegetables and make my own salsa but I can't say I enjoyed the work. More power to you! ��
    Thanks for such a sweet letter!!! It made my uber busy week! Lots of love to you and I will try and write soon.

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! Oh I do understand the busy-ness of life! I hope that you have been able to move into your new home, and I can't wait to hear about it! Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  10. I am having an incredibly lazy summer. the first truly lazy summer that I have had in a very long time. It is actually crazy how lazy I have been; boy, am I enjoying it!

    All those jars of strawberry and the idea of eating in on fresh homemade bread of biscuits, and those ever so delicious looking blueberry muffins are making me way too hungry! Oh yum!

    You are very impressive!

    ♥Hope

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    1. Oh that is so wonderful to hear that you are blessed with such a special and relaxed summer! I can only dream about being lazy in the summer... here we try to cram 12 months of living into 3 months and it seems I feel like I'm on a treadmill trying to get it all done, lol! I look forward to fall for that is when things slow down :) Hugs to you today!

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  11. Hi,
    I am with you NO LAZY DAYS of Summer in this house. ;-)
    My peach order just came in,so I will be canning 4 lugs of peaches.
    I already picked green beans twice. I froze the two first pickings. The next picking I will can.
    I noticed my cucumbers are ready too. On to pickles. :-))
    So I hear ya...what lazy day. HA!

    I just love huckleberries. I think I already shared this, my first taste of a Huckleberry was in Montana and it was love at first taste.

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can! Country life really is the best! All those jars of peaches, green beans and pickles, oh yum! Lots of work, but so worth it come winter!!!! :) Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  12. I am beyond jealous right now. Yummy.

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    1. Sorry this response is almost a month late! The lazy days of summer are nowhere to be found around here, but we are enjoying every moment that we can! Country life really is the best :) Hugs to you on this lovely Friday!

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  13. I am beyond jealous right now. Yummy.

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  14. Oh my! What a bounty of berries! And they all look very yummy. My hubby and I canned mulberry syrup, cherry syrup and mulberry jelly a few weeks back. It was an all day affair and we got over 46 jars! We still need to make the plum jelly, but will hopefully get to that soon. It's been crazy busy here, but we did manage to go on vacation for 9 days! That was so needed and relaxing. Today I wish I was back in the mountains, for it is 103 here! Yuck!
    Have a fruitful week!
    Hugs, Amy

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    1. Oh wow! You have been busy! Canning, jamming - it all takes a whole day just to do it, and oh, it is so worth it when you have all those gleaming jars on your countertop! I'm glad that you got to vacation for 9 days - that is awesome! Hope that you are continuing to have a blessed summer :) I feel like I've fallen off the blogging "train"... still trying to get back on, lol! Hopefully come fall... ! Hugs to you today dear Amy!

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  15. I'd sure love to spend some time at your house, with all those amazing berry treats!

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    1. I would love that, and you would be sent home piled up with goodies too :) I love sharing the bounty of what the Lord has blessed us with! Hope that your summer is blessed beyond measure :)

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  16. Yum! - My oh my you have been busy with all that canning and berr picking. I just go to a local market and buy my berries. I'm not a fan of blue berries though although I like them in muffins and desserts. - Hey I've lost your e-mail address can you send it to me again. I've changed e-mails so you'll need to send a message to my new address.

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    1. I just emailed you dear friend, and I apologize for the lateness of this response! I've seemed to have not been able to keep up with my blogging during the busy-ness of summer, but hope that once fall comes around, things will normalize again :) Hugs to you today, and look forward to hearing from you :)

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  17. Oh I enjoyed reading about the berrying and the canning. What is it about those jewel-toned jars all in a row?! They even gave me a sense of satisfaction all the way over here and I had nothing to do with all the effort involved. Now I have spent a fair amount of my life berry picking and I do love berries...alas, my diet does not allow many. Huckleberries are something I have never tried...do they taste similar to s blueberry?

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    1. There is a joy of seeing such beauty all in a row, I agree! It makes the hard day of work making them sooo worthwhile! Huckleberries are a treat you can only get in Montana, Idaho and Washington, I believe. They generally grow only way up in the mountains, and are the main source of food for bears, so this makes them a bit of a dangerous berry to pick, lol! But the taste.. oh my, it is amazing. I can't even describe it, but far better than a blueberry! :) Have a blessed day today my friend!

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