Strawberries Glorious Strawberries
They are my hands working in the water; usually it is moments like these in which I find myself looking at my Father’s hands, occasionally my Mother’s.
Do you ever have moment like that, when the work and habits that are being undertaken reveal your minds knowledge of someone else’s endeavors? Is it reassuring, pleasing or frightening to make this discovery?
At the moment, I have my hands dipped into cold water and am rinsing strawberries fresh from the garden. I have previously taken care of 2 flats of berries and now begin on the last 2 flats. We will eat some fresh, I will freeze at least 10 quarts and I will dry one full flat.
Strawberry Shortcake is on the menu for our Independence Day Celebration.
Actually, my hands are here on the computer keyboard, I am just remembering the 10 hours I have devoted to the care of Strawberries!
This year the Organic berries are in very short supply. Demand is up for the local, fresh berries and the chemical free varieties. I go to the farmer’s market and purchase my first two flats the first week of the season. Two weeks later I am scrambling to find two more flats, because I want the very ripest berries for drying as I add no sugar or preservatives to my task. I want the flavor to explode into the mouth when I give them as gifts during the Winter Holiday Season.
The weather has been strange and the berries are small, hard to find, and exceptionally sweet – expensively delicious.
My hands guide the colander full of berries through the water and they wield the knife to remove the tops in a smooth gliding motion. There is no arthritis to mar the shape of the joints, they are not swollen, short and unwieldy – they are my hands moving in a rhythm all their own – precision instruments of care.
I feel the seeds and anticipate the juice and know the overripe or bad spot without hesitation or conscious thought. I sit down, I stand, I love my comfortable CROCS and I think about the woman who have gone before me and prepared for the year ahead.
I do not grow my own strawberries, our urban, downtown farm spot does not have enough room for organic slug control and my small traps of beer do not catch enough of the hungry consumers. The ground cover I use is a tiny, tiny strawberry plant that the birds just love to enjoy and I love the massive white blooms in the middle of spring. I pay for someone else to bend and pick the berries for me.
I do have 15 blueberry bushes which are a part of the hedge system in our yard. They are loaded with fruit and I must stake up a couple as they are bent nearly to the ground in abundance. I notice that the Winter Squash and pumpkins all have blooms and a couple of free starts from the compost have set uniquely shaped orbs – I wonder how they will taste.
The apple trees have dropped some leaves and self pruned the non-viable apples, and it is notable that the trees do not carry as much fruit as in other years. The woodpeckers ate too many of the Mason Bees?
Early season or late – I can not speculate but am hoping for late so that I can make sauce, dried, and juice for the days to come, and not be away on my walking tour.
Who would have thought that these hands would be a part of such abundance and beauty? Who would have known that these hands would be taking care of me and mine? Who would have known that these hands would assist me in sharing so many words and ideas?
They are my hands now lifting the berry coins off the dehydrator trays and putting each into their containers for a mouth watering surprise. Hands that know the rhythm and motion by heart.
What do your hands know by heart? How do you care for your hands? Are you remembering?
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Thank you for your delightful comments and sharing your thoughts with me.