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Picking Blueberries

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chee. Five comments on a non-existent post. Thanks, girls, love ya, mean it. Lemme try this'n again.

Our Net has been running at an arthritic snail's pace for 48 hours. Silly me, when a window popped up on my Mac telling me I needed ten software updates, most of them for functions I never use, I hit the "Download Now" button. Feeling reckless, I guess. I should have known that was taboo. Four hours into a fruitless download, our Net crashed. I spent quite some time on the phone with someone from Direcway named Dave, doubtless in Mumbai, and the upshot was that even at $93/month that we cough up for the extra bandwidth we need for our work, there are some things you just can't try. So he told us we'd have to wait 24 hours after the download event before it would regain its composure. And I didn't even get the updates.

Something made me try to put up a post this afternoon. I'm sick as a dog, and in between lying in a fetal position, gulping ibuprofen, and putzing around the kitchen wiping counters in a desultory way, I wanted to have one little thing I could point to as my product (besides the Tuscan chicken stew I made this morning). Everything was going at about one-fifth the normal speed, but I struggled through a photo-heavy post, hit Publish, and it simply vanished, as if it had never been there. Sorry, Mary, there aren't words foul enough to make that feel better, and yes, ladies, I cried. Bill drew me a hot bath and here I am, back again, watching Autosave like a hawk. Save this post, !@#@$#%$#%!!!
There's this blueberry farm, a you-pick operation, about 12 miles farther into the back of beyond from our place. Going there with the kids on an August evening is one of my favorite things in the world. I took Phoebe there when she was toddling, and got Liam there once, and he filled his dipe with evidence of his baby picking prowess. And then the farm closed down, because, with their kids in middle and high school, the owners just didn't have the time to run it. Yeah, I know the feeling. I prayed they would keep the old bushes; they were so wonderfullly grand. As it happened, the farm was closed to picking for eight years, time enough for that diapered Liam to grow into a fine young boy, for Phoebe to head to middle school herself. Every July I'd yearn for blueberries, to no avail, so we dutifully ate the pulpy store-bought ones from Jersey and Michigan and the Carolinas, working around the squashy hairy moldy ones, wishing...
Rolling Hills wanted to open back up last spring, but the April freeze that burned every plant in Ohio squelched that. And then one fine morning my mother-in-law called with the happy news: they were back in business at Rolling Hills. Life kept us away until last night, but we finally made it out there.
The plants are just about done, but there are still some berries. Mostly, you pick them singly, rather than rolling your hand down a whole cluster like this one.

Liam took to picking like a duckie to water, proclaiming, "Blueberry picking is the best sport in the world!
Phoebe prided herself on immaculate, large, unblemished berries.
It was all so primal, being hunter-gatherers for an evening, plucking live fruit from the bushes, popping them into our mouths, listening to the plunk of berries on bucketbottom, the low murmurs of other people hidden throughout the rows.
At one point I looked up and there were two Baltimore orioles perched on the phone line overhead; another time, with my camera about 20 feet away next to a full bucket of berries, I glanced up to see a flaming male scarlet tanager right over my head, his eye shiny and inquisitive, the shot lost, but the image burned forever on my brain. Robins, towhees, kingbirds, waxwings: they were all there, as they had been since the bushes first started bearing.

Finally, it was time to weigh in.

(I am getting nervous. Blogger won't save this post. Agggghh. Shoot me now, before you lose another post.)
All told, we picked 11 pounds of berries, and it cost $18.00; a mere $1.63/pound. A bargain at any price, these sweet, plump, tangy fruits.I'm thankful for this little farm, for the buckets and bales of blueberries in the fridge. Liam got all territorial; wants to eat only those he picked himself; he doesn't realize that I keep topping off his Tupperware with ones from my bucket.
We'll be back before the season ends for good. Picking blueberries in Ohio in August is a fine, fine thing. Tomorrow, I'll show you what we saw on the drive home. Right after I go to the doctor. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Self-Diagnosing Science Chimp: Hi, Tami. I've got a kidney infection (substitute tick-borne disease, sinus infection...).

Tami: Oh, yeah? What's going on?

SDSC: Lower back pain, radiating down the legs, jumping up every ten minutes all night, burning up with fever, feel like I've been hit by a truck and then it backed over me again. Gimme some sulfa?

Tami: Scribble scribble scribble


Is this like one of those "Gone Fishing" signs?

No, this is Blogger eliminating a post that, thanks to snail-like Internet, took two hours to create. Scheduled outage. Cool. I'm so happy.

Ooops. Blooger. Cuss, then lighten up Francis. :o)

Dang! Last week Blogger labeled my blog as spam and shut me down. It's enough to make one cry sometimes.

What to say--sorry.
Hope the blueberries make up for the inefficient Blogger.
(You may have discovered a new way to blog--just throw out a title and see how many comments you get.)

Aww, you poor kid! I'd've cried too. But the post was worth checking back in for. I just hope you feel better soon.

Sorry to hear of your agony... hopefully it's something that blueberry jam can cure ;-)
As far as losing posts, I sometimes write long posts in a word processing program first and only then copy them over to Blogger, or alternatively, you can just manually save them in blogger as a draft every couple paragraphs, rather than rely on autosave.
Hope Dr. Baker is attending to you.

So did they weigh you and Liam and Phoebe before and after and charge for the difference?

What glorious buckets of blueberries! Hope the UTI is better today Julie.

Blueberry picking on the Newfoundland barrens was a key element of every vacation of my childhood. I often lost patience for the project, but never the produce. You have a great picture there of some blueberries that we would say are red because they are green.

Sounds like these are cultivars but littleorangeguy had the wild ones.
You can't be sick mom/wife/chef/house cleaner/gleaner/blogger/artist/writer/naturalist/speaker/humourist.

It isn't in your schedule.

Is this just a postponed hangover?

I think this is the first time I see you in Phoebe's smile. Your smiles are almost identical!

At first I thought your ailments might have been due to overdoses of blueberries.

Feel better soon, Julie.

BTW, I save my posts (minus text) in a Word Doc. then copy to blogger. It saves rethinkng and retyping in case Blogger eats it.

Dr.'s visit didn't go so smoothly. They made me get an X-ray to rule out kidney stones, and I have to go back tomorrow to see what the culture grew. THEN, two hours in the car and 64 miles later, they'll write me the !@#@#$# prescription. Luckily I got the chatty X-ray technician and she let me look at my X-rays--no stones (no news to me). I'm thinking of moving to Mexico, where I can buy over-the-counter drugs and self-medicate. Uh-oh. Here comes the truck, to back over me again.

I like how Phoebe's shirt is a that great blueberry color. Those blueberries look so delicious. Will you eat them all or make some jam too? (when you're feeling better, of course)

Hi Julie...

Where is this Blueberry Farm you speak of? Is it near Loudonville? I have two little ones and they would LOVE this experience!


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