Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Not Very Zen

Normally when I pick raspberries I zone out a bit.  It's a nice opportunity to be outside in the sun, the plants are tall enough that I can stand, and I spend more time thinking about life than I do about the berries I'm picking.

Yesterday, however, I had to concentrate.

The orb spider with the bee
Apparently there is some new fly that is wreaking havoc on the blueberries and raspberries around here.  So they asked us to take 2 buckets in to the fields, one for good berries and one for bad ones.  They want to get the bad ones out of the field.  That meant that every single berry had to be checked.  What normally would have taken us an hour took two, and I didn't get to zone out and ponder the greater mysteries of the world.  It is also early in the season so the berries that were ripe weren't as plentiful.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  It is wonderful to have organic raspberries to pick so close to my house.  It's just that the experience was different.

We did find an orb spider which had trapped a honey bee in its web.  I felt bad for the bee.  When we first found it, the bee was trying to free itself, and the spider was just hanging out in the middle of the web.  When we checked on it on the way out, the spider was still in the middle of the web but now it had the bee in its legs and was starting very slowly to wrap it up.  The kids and I watched that for a while.  We also saw a good sized garter snake.

The raspberry farm has been expanding lately; they used to just grow the berries but now they have some other produce and some chickens.  Who get fed a lot of overripe raspberries - the kids took our "bad berry bucket" out and gave them to the chickens.  They are beautiful, healthy looking birds who will eat out of one's hand.  And they sell eggs at their stand!  I'd still prefer to barter with someone for eggs, but this'll do.

Since it took longer than usual to get the berries, I didn't have time to make the batch of seedless raspberry jam I'd intended to make before I had to leave for work.  So I got out the food mill and ran the berries through until I got 4 cups of raspberry juice and puree and let the kids eat what was left of the berries, which wasn't much.  The puree was put in the fridge until I got home from work last night.  At 10 pm I made 8+ cups of seedless raspberry jelly following the Certo recipe.  I'm still using up all my stores of Certo in my effort to switch from liquid to powdered pectin.

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