Purple eggplant and green-striped tomatoes notwithstanding, there is nothing like the color of ripe red strawberries. Lucky I was hanging out on a berry farm several weeks ago while my sister got well. In fact, the night we returned from the Pittsburgh hospital, this basket of red strawberries greeted us in along with the veggies I pictured last week. Yes, I know it was August! But Del had them waiting like a bouquet of exquisite flowers, with the note, “Welcome home!”
After all, as this sign tells you, you will find berries on Owl Creek Farm!
What? It says raspberries? Why of course it does. There will be raspberries ripe for the picking under the canopy of the new hoop house for months to come. But since the farm has for decades been a place to pick your own strawberries, we had to do a little editing on the sign. Del wasn’t about to share the sweet little ever-blooming treasures he had painstakingly collected for Linda.
To change the sign to raspberries, Del was heading into town to search for stick-on letters, when Linda had an idea. She remembered that Suzy, our brother’s wife, cut durable plastic letters out of yogurt containers. Suzy is uncontested for the title Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Queen, and that’s saying a lot in the Yoder family. So I got out scissors and Linda pointed me to a stack of containers, and after painstaking cutting and some very sore fingers, we had a most satisfactory sign for raspberries.
Speaking of which, I was out in the meadow the next day to go raspberry-picking. I meant to take a photo of the large hoop house under which they’re sheltered. But the sky was so amazing, my camera went there instead. So: blue West Virginia sky with puffy clouds.
These soft purple-red berries have a velvety texture all their own. You don’t dare to let them sit a few more hours and become mushy, or the exquisite flavor will vanish.
After the picking came many delights. A few quarts went into ruby red raspberry jam that Linda insisted I take home with me. A few quarts went into the fridge so I could share them with grandson Everett on my way home. We’ve called that boy a fruit bat since birth, and there was no stopping him the night I set this basket of unwashed berries in front of him.
When I got home from my ten-day journey, this is what Robby and I had for dessert—raspberries with homemade vanilla cream pudding and whipped cream. Yum!
The next morning I put slices of homemade bread in the toaster and looked around for that delicious jam. Oops. I had left it behind in West Virginia. But my wonderful sister insisted on boxing it up and mailing it to Virginia. So, a trip that began with my leaving my purse behind at the New Kent rest stop on #64 ended with me leaving my lovely jam behind as well. Thank goodness for the U.S. Postal Service, and loving relatives that make up for my weaknesses.
But this blog isn’t really so much about vegetables or berries. It’s about miracles in the garden. And the biggest miracle of all is in the photo below. Looking like so many potted plants ourselves, and book-ended by sidewise coffee mugs in Anita’s and my hands, four sisters link arms and hearts. That is the true miracle in any garden.