Sometimes you just need a few days off. Summer hit, and with our schedules being what they were, we just never got around to booking any out-of-town trips for our week off. And then we realized: we live in an awesome city, have an awesome yard, and really just needed some time to relax. This is what we did.
Tuesday July 16
We woke up to sun, and the anxious realization that our holiday was quickly evaporating around us… and that we’d better make the best of the next couple days. Some minimal prep later and after a quick bundle up and into the car, we were off..
We’d weighed a few options, made a few phone calls and checked a variety of websites. Karin ended up having a brief conversation with someone on a U-Pick and discovered that no only were their strawberries ripe and ready for picking, they were going fast. “Were there strawberries today?” “Yup.” “Would there be strawberries tomorrow?” “Hard to say.”
South to the strawberry farm it was. A forty minute drive down the highway and a quick jut West found us at a quiet little strawberry U-Pick at about ten in the morning, buckets in hand.
Claire wasn’t sure what to make of it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what she remembers and what she conveniently forgets and re-experiences for the first time… again.
The sun was warm, but not hot. The bugs were minimal. And the strawberries were plentiful.
We poked through the assigned row, nibbled only a little bit here and there, and loaded three pails full of fresh berries inside of about forty-five minutes.
Claire loved it.
The trip home was longer, of course. We detoured through Ma-Me-O Beach, for no particular reason and deliberately going completely the wrong direction on the way back. You can do that sort of thing when you’ve got no where in particular to be.
We walked down the beach, threw some rocks, and looked up on our phones a property that was listed as for sale. (No dice, by the way, not at a cool seven hundred K, beachfront be damned.)
We cruised home eventually, stopping by the grocery store for some extra supplies, and by shortly after one-thirty, Karin and I were industriously coring strawberries in our kitchen and prepping a variety of dusty canning supplies left over from our childless days of more free time and more adventurous hours in the kitchen.
Yes, I know how to make jam. We lived off homemade jam growing up. I have an unsortable collection of scattered memories from my youth, of my mother canning and preserving any bit of fruit or vegetable matter that made the mistake of straying into the vicinity of our kitchen.
And besides, it’s not that hard. jam is really only a couple ingredients: fruit, sugar, pectin, and heat.
An hour later we were rewarded with five full jars of fresh and fruity strawberry jam… and a backyard full of kids playing in my sprinkler and eating handfuls of the berries that didn’t make it into the recipes.
But the afternoon blurred by, and before we knew it the time had come for even more food: we met Derek and Shannon (kids in tow of course) at Delux for hamburgers.
The girls made sure to save room for the cotton candy at the end, Claire telling me “I’m not going to eat one of my chicken fingers so I have space for cotton candy, dad.”
Of course you are.