Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blueberries

I love living in the country. Especially in summer. Last week we enjoyed picking strawberries. Yesterday, blueberries awaited our greedy little hands. I explained to Lanie and Erin to only pick the ones that had a deep dark blue/purple color, not green because they don't ripen after you pick them. And that if they were really mushy, don't put them in your bag.

Erin, who's one and a half, immediately spots the thousands of blueberries on the bush. I see wheels turning in her head, "Hey, I've had these before at home and they're good." She reaches forward with both hands and starts pulling them off the bush and cramming them into her mouth, stems and green berries too. I had to show her what to look for, and afterwards, she decided it would just be easier to pick the berries out of my berry bag and eat them. So I didn't get as far as I'd like.

Lanie, now five, but a berry-picking veteran from age one and a half, starts picking, giving many to some friends who accompanied us. I think she ate a few too. And to my amazement, at the start of blueberry season in front of bushes that were overflowing with ripe berries, I hear her say, "I can't find any berries. They're all mushy."

Me: "What do you mean? I don't see any mushy ones."

Lanie demonstrates by picking a berry and squishing it between her fingers.

"Lanie, you're not supposed to squeeze the berries like that. I meant don't put the mushy ones in your bag if they're so mushy they squish as you pull them off the bush."

The lesson was lost. She was pretty done. She had maybe twenty berries in her bag. I had a bit more than that after Erin was done, but not as many as I would have liked to fulfill my baking fantasies of blueberry muffins and Five-Minute cake. I think we walked away with a sizable snack and a great dose of sunshine.

Luckily, blueberry season runs into August. I see weekly treks and stained fingertips in our future.

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