Thursday, May 12, 2005

When we retired and moved from upstate New York to North Carolina, I had all kinds of plans that haven't really materialized. I would have a vegetable garden (organic, of course) and freeze or can ("putting them up", I think they call it down here) enough veggies to last through the winter, and I would have an herb garden, and I would pick seasonal berries and make jam.
A funny thing about gardening - the plants need sun, lots of it, which our tree filled lot didn't allow, so after a few years of less-than-stellar results, my garden now consists of two tomato plants in big clay pots on our dock. My herb garden is usually one basil plant in a pot and an out-of-control mint plant.
And here's my method for homemade jam: each time we visit my parents "up north", I return my empty jam jars to Mom and pull some full ones from her freezer. Yesterday I picked 11 pounds of strawberries and still don't plan to make any jam. Strawberry shortcake for all friends and family who visit this summer, though!
I found the NC strawberry farm that I patronized yesterday to be a kinder, gentler version of the upstate NY farm that I remember from my childhood. Back then, we were assigned a row and we were scolded if we didn't pick every ripe or nearly-ripe berry in our row, no matter how small. Yesterday the instructions were "Pick anywhere you like - if you head "over yonder" almost to that trailer over there, you should find some big "purty" ones." She was right.

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