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Strawberries Glorious Strawberries

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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17 Responses to “Strawberries Glorious Strawberries”

  1. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Hi Patricia – Pete has been making strawberry sorbet lately. Yum! A couple of nights ago he mixed hot fudge with it. Double yum!

    When I look at my hands now, I see my mother’s hands. They are rapidly becoming my grandmother’s hands. The fingers are long and slender, can be graceful. I’m taking better care of my nails and always reach for the gardening gloves. But…they’re weathered and veiny and beginning to spot. There are so many interesting things that happen to your body when it ages.

    Last night Pete and I were at the bar, and an elderly couple came in and sat at the opposite end. Both with white hair, very wrinkly. He made sure she was situated before he sat next to her. “There we are,” Pete said. They clinked their glasses and then put on their magnifiers to read the menu. I hope we’re still sitting at the bar having a bump in 30 years.

    Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..THOUGHTS FROM HOURS SPENT WITH DAYLILIES

  2. Talon Says:

    The fruits of our labours and all of it done with care and knowing you’ll have some wonderful summer flavors to brighten the winter months – it’s perfection. It’s those types of tasks that remind us our roots and definitely bring up memories of other hands – all of them connected to us.

    I had my first strawberries of the season last week. And I’ve enjoyed some homemade strawberry jam on toast and ice cream and even with my yogurt the last few days. Yummy!

    I have nerve damage in one of my hands, so I appreciate everything I’m able to do with them.

    Talons last blog post..Ever have

  3. Patricia Says:

    Betsy,
    Oh I would love the recipe for Strawberry Sorbet…although my Mango sorbet was a disaster last year – I saved the last bowl of strawberries for my gal who just got off the plane for a weekend visit – we have a list of about 15 tasks for our engineer to perform including a Milky Way cake for her Dad’s birthday – is smells yummy.

    Love the idea of still sitting at the bar having a bump in 30 years! Me too…

    Talon,
    I struggle every year to pick enough wild blackberries to make sure we have enough for a pie on Christmas Eve which we have with vegetarian Frog Powder Soup ( Split pea soup)
    Some traditions are just yummy.

  4. J.D. Meier Says:

    I’ve got so many great memories of strawberry experiences.

    In one of my classes, we had to draw a picture of biting into a strawberry as we plummeted to our deaths. It’s interesting trying to capture, draw, and share the beauty of a taste.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee

  5. bunnygotblog Says:

    This is a great article. I have often looked in the mirror and saw my mom looking back. When I look at my hands, I see my grandmother’s long thin fingers – Yep.

    I love blueberries and strawberries.Cant get enough of them. Love the way the juice explodes in my mouth.

    bunnygotblogs last blog post..Five Blogs – Four Women – One Apple & Me

  6. Patricia Says:

    J.D.
    What a class assignment – I can taste the strawberry though

    Bunny,
    You are right the taste just explodes…hands change – I was surprised but hey do!

  7. bunnygotblog Says:

    Hi again ,

    I want to send you this link.
    http://theconsciouslife.com/carnival-of-healing-196-how-to-live-more-fulfilling-life.htm

    bunnygotblogs last blog post..Five Blogs – Four Women – One Apple & Me

  8. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. Fresh strawberries… yummy. You’ve given me an idea; to visit the farmer’s market tomorrow to see what goodies I can find. I laughed when I read your mention that your hands were actually on the keyboard, cause I was thinking that as I was reading :-)

    This is interesting what you say about your hands. I often see my mother’s hands when I look at mine. This was very poetic: “Hands that know the rhythm and motion by heart.”

    Davinas last blog post..Guest Post: Three Shades of Happiness

  9. Patricia Says:

    Bunny,
    Great link, sorry to take so long replying my computer just switched everything to code so I had to track down my IT for help

    Davina,
    those strawberries were yummy and will be great Christmas gifts. I have been told by nearly everyone that since I look like my mother I am just like my mother – oops! Yes I look like my mum but I am far more like my father…as I become disease free ( my father died at 65 from this disease we share and his hands looks swollen and awful near they end) I get to see what healthy hands look like – my hands.

  10. Jannie Funster Says:

    Wow, exquisite post!

    My hands know by heart some guitar positions, how to roll pie crust, how to check a child’s forehead for fever.

    Oh, and those beer traps – they would reel me right in Patricia, oh yeah! :)

    xo

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..74% blogging addicted. And you?

  11. Mama Zen Says:

    Such a gorgeous post!

    When I do the strawberries, my hands are my grandmother’s hands. I love the connection.

    Mama Zens last blog post..Crazy Train

  12. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    Thank you – beer traps work great…invented by a kid and gave her enough funds to get through vet school – You go Mindy!

    Mama Zen,
    My family just left lots of them home for 4th weekend – my hands are just plain exhausted tonight! We ate tons of cherries, blueberries and strawberries – very yummy weekend. Thank you for your very appreciated words

  13. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Reading your post made me hungry for strawberries. Yum!

    I love hands. As I age I notice my hands do too, but I absolutely love old people’s hands, so I don’t mind. All of those wrinkles, spots, scars, veins, etc, have a story to tell, and with blogging, we can tell ours. Sweet!

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..How Writing Catchy Titles May Hurt Our Blog

  14. Dot Says:

    I remember going berry-picking with my uncle and aunt one time, and all the strawberries I took home. It took years to get over being sick of strawberries, but now I love them again. Usually I get reminded of my mother or grandmother when I make things from scratch. I rarely cook any more, so the reminders are few.

    Dots last blog post..My Mother Has Passed

  15. Patricia Says:

    Barbara,
    Hands are amazing storytellers! and life revelers! Hope you got enough strawberries this season

    Dot,
    I am so glad you like strawberries again – I can not imagine life without them. When my hands look like my dad’s I know I do not have this disease under control or am not healing it….an early warning system so to speak

  16. JD Sullivan Says:

    Patricia,

    I have to agree with Barbara. Reading your blog definitely just put me in the mood for some strawberry shortcake! I just bought some strawberries yesterday from a IGA here in Cheney and the packaging said “fresh” but let me tell you, they were anything but. The next day I got them out to make fresh strawberry banana oatmeal, and the strawberries were moldy. It wasn’t even a whole 24 hours (more like 14) and they were dead. I need the kind of strawberries you talk about, honestly fresh berries that are delicious!

    My hands are the brushes of artwork. They position themselves in ways I can’t even comprehend. They follow what my mind and heart express towards them. But one thing my hands know mostly is how to tie my shoes, it’s a classic.

  17. Patricia Says:

    Hi JD
    I am so sorry your strawberries were not good – ugh that is not fun, I think the season was very short this year. Your hands are the brushes of your art – and you have so many shoes to tie! I have seen them all lined up in a row!

    Patricias last blog post..Creative, Creativ, Kreativ