It’s 90 But Freezing Blueberries

Back to blueberries. How to save those yummy berries for later on. Whether you buy them when they are in season and priced well, or pick them yourself it’s easy to keep them on hand for snacking or baking if you have some room in your freezer.

First I wash them – about 2- 3 cups at a time. I swish them around gently to loosen the stems and any leaves etc. that might be mixed in. As I remove them by handfuls, I pick out the stems and place the berries in a colander. I generally do this twice with hand picked, but once should work with store berries.  

   After the cleaned berries drain in the colander , I roll them onto an old clean dish towel that I have placed on a rimmed cookie sheet. I let them get good and dry there. This is the time when I  usually decrease the berry total by a bit by munching on them!

Meanwhile I clean out a nice flat space in the freezer that will fit the cookie sheet. After they look pretty dry, I gently pour them from the towel onto the cookie sheet and slide it into the freezer. It will not take more than a few hours to quick freeze the berries. Careful here, as a blueberry disaster can occur quickly and it’s no fun to scoop all those berries up from the floor!

  When the berries are frozen, scoop them into your freezer bag. 
  Squeeze as much air as you can out of the bag and return it quickly to the freezer. Your berries will not mush when defrosted, nor clump together in a big blueberry brick!

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Someone needs to start decorating like a grown up.

But not any time soon! I was searching for a new bathroom rug …. One that was flat so the door would slide over it and this sweet guy caught my eye hanging out in Target. And then…. Well it just went on and on. First the bath mat, and then I just could not resist the shower curtain, too. Around the corner were the towels and why not? No more flamingo!!

  

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Blueberry Time

Our very favorite Blueberry farm is opening this weekend! Although we spent many hours picking wild blueberries when I was small, we now pay to pick someone else’s berries. There are few wild patches left! These berries are luscious and we eat them like chips from the bowl.

When the berries were free and  abundant, I made jelly and jam. It’s a special moment to pop open the lid of a jar of home made strawberry jam or blueberry jelly in January!

The hot jars settle on the gingham towel, stained blue and sticky

More jars bubble in the kettle clinking against one another in a staccato salsa dance.

When the timer buzzes, I remove them one by one with long slender tongs

Carefully, pot holder in hand, I gently release them from the steaming bath and snug them beside their cousins.

Golden jar lids snap sealed one by one.

Fragrant blueberry jelly.

Plucked from skinny branches,

Rescued from spiders and tiny lime green caterpillars,

Simmered with sugar and pectin and a smidge of cinnamon,

Sweet and thick enough to spread.

Until a winter morning when

We release a summer’s day once more.

 

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It’s only my opinion

One year we had an issue in the boys room. One young man purposefully created a disturbance by leaving evidence outside the urinal. You got it, right?

Clyde and I discussed the problem and I invited him to let me know as soon as he noticed the behavior. He called one morning soon after the morning bell with the news. I called to the office any boy who had been to the boys room that morning and at least twelve squeezed into my tiny office, the older boys peering in from the hallway. 

“Someone is not being careful in the boys room when he is using the urinal. (Got to be specific with little kids!) The custodian needs to spend extra time cleaning with bleach any time this happens, so it’s unfair to him and the other boys. Ill be checking your names and keeping track of this, If I see you again.”

One of the first graders in the front row raised his little hand, bouncing on his toes,

“Mrs. G, Mrs. G!! It wasn’t me and I always aim!” He chirped.

It took every ounce of will power to look him straight in the eye without a smile and say,

“Thank you for that, James. I hope everyone does.”

When they all tumbled out into the hallway the admin assistant came Out from under her desk, her face red from laughing, tears leaking from eyes.

“How did you ever keep a straight face?” She asked.

…………..       

just a few short Words on the subject of public bathrooms. Two sons, one husband later, and 1000 little boys formed an opinion that guys are not bothered by spotty toilets. You know what I mean.

Yuck. I once said to my boys, in charge of cleaning their bathroom, “I would rather run to the woods in an emergency than use this bathroom.” Yuck.

And how many times have I been waiting to use the public ladies room (in a line, of course) and seen so many guys leaving the bathrooms without any signs of hand washing. Yuck.

And, yes, some women are messy too.

But….. That being said…..I still would prefer to use a bathroom that was clean. So whatever bathrooms we have,  I only ask that users be responsible and kind to the next person in line.

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Spring walk in New England

We are definitely back in New England…. And light sweatshirt weather…..very different from our last few months in SW Florida where we walk along the beach or the lush trails.

I was delighted to see the plants just starting up along the parklands trails. Many fiddlehead ferns uncurled in the swampy edges of the pond. The pair of ladies slipper orchids were tucked behind a stump- the only pair I saw during my hour walk. They demurely posed for a photo.

Although I searched for a Jack in the pulpit- a spring guest that often shares the same path- Jack was hiding from me today. The window is short for these spring divas so I will look carefully during the next few walks.

Ladies slipper orchid     Fiddlehead fern

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No Artist

i don’t pretend to be an artist but I have done a lot of doodling, especially during a career of many boring meetings. This year the teacher in me took over and I bought a set, okay two sets, of permanent Fine tip markers. Inspired by the coloring book….. Yes, I bought colored pencils, too….. I had been Puttering with during tv time, I tried doodling on some shells. We have lots and lots of those on beach. If I didn’t like the finished product, I could just return it to the sea. Some turned out better than others, but I Had lots of fun playing Around with the markers. Beach visitors picked them up as a little souvenir and some visitors will try to create some when they return  home. I’m sure they will have fun doodling too, and some will be artists!

These doodles have brought me to Pinterest, where there are so many ideas and creative pinners. I’m pinning more than I’ve been doodling! Time to break this relationship before I am pinteresting more than creating!

  

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Still getting around to it!

Been on vacation but returning to the circle. Is it still a blog if no one reads it? I asked that once and still wonder but I feel the need to be writing now. So here goes.

  
  

 

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Fuzzy Bar Harbor

Last week we headed to Bar Harbor. We’ve always wanted to visit Acadia and this was our trip! Made our reservations in January and looked forward to it all spring.
Augusta was a little beyond halfway and we meandered toward the capital by way of a farmers market and Stonewall Kitchen snacks on a warm sunny day. Augusta was a bit of a disappointment so we set off early Sunday for the coast.
I could feel a little cough coming on and popped a few zinc tabs. Our inn was quaint and comfy. We headed for a drive through the park. Acadia is absolutely amazing. Panoramic views of the coast and the surrounding fields and mountains rise at every turn.
We loved the lobster sliders, the yummy ice cream and the blueberry pancakes. But on Tuesday morning husband was ready to pack up due to my persistent and annoying cough. I vetoed it, and stuck it out for the next two days. We hiked Jordan pond, walked uptown and downtown and my husband made it to the top of Cadillac while I waited part ways on a sunny ledge.
No longer will my HCP give me a scrip over the phone, even when one gets touchy with the staff. If so, I might have gotten out of bed a little sooner and avoided the touch of pneumonia that still is hanging on! Try over the counter. seriously!
Bar Harbor , you were great fun, I think. My memories may be a little fuzzy!

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And good morning to you, too!

I will tell you this about my driving.
I always use my rear view mirrors.
I never actually look at the drivers in my mirror, just the cars.
This is a little detour, but I will tell you that I have learned Not to look at drivers because many drivers are men. Men have a very bad habit of excavating a facial cavity while they are waiting at stop lights. Yuck!
So, if you are waving at me from your car, I won’t see you!And if you are practicing that yucky habit, I will not know.

I am usually a calm person. Really.
I am usually a calm driver. Really!
Sometimes I am not.
Sometimes I just need to vent. Deep inside I am a Boston driver. And sometimes I just enjoy having a tantrum. A hissy fit. An arm waving, hand shaking, loud yelling, occasional bad word mouthing tantrum. In the car. By myself. Nothing personal. If you are the driver in front of me and I am having a tantrum, I still like you. I just need to vent.
And it’s nobody’s business. Not even yours. I don’t honk. I just have a little yell in my own private space.
This morning the driver in front of me was just poking and poking. Enough so that a huge 18 wheeler could pull out in front of us. Enough so I just made it through the light. So I vented. I waved my hands and made unhappy faces. Nothing personal, just venting.
The driver must have noticed. Suddenly he opened his window, put out his arm and flipped me the bird for a few blocks.
I was offended! I have no grudge against him, but he made it public.
I’m still offended .
Maybe I need to listen to more classical music.

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Hands

One pair of hands works a garden
Pitchfork Slung into the earth 
Turn over the soil
One pair of hands pulls out the rocks
Tosses them into the barrow.
One pair of hands digs the small valley 
And places the  tiny seeds one by one 
Covering them gently with warm, black dirt
Patting them in, tamping them down.
One pair of hands works a garden.

Many hands together 
Work a community
Pulling out the weeds
Planting new shoots
Encouraging seedlings with water and food

Working together
The hands bind the  wounds
carry the burdened
Teach the children
Shuck the corn
Stir the rice
Pour the water

The hands work together
Small hands, big hands, calloused hands, soft hands
Hands with ground in oil under the nails
Hands that are tan and black and pink and red from cold.
Grasp my hands and we will grow a neighborhood
We will grow a community
We will grow a city.
Grasp my hands.

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