The sunlight dappled through the raspberry patch and while it was a beautiful colour it added a level of complexity to berry picking. The evening tinged light made the ripe berries hard to distinguish.
She thought maybe life’s like a raspberry patch and not a box of chocolates. Chocolates are so pedestrian; mass produced and if you read the key there aren’t even any surprises. It’s all so uniform and easy and she thought that’s not like life at all. Life isn’t easy. Those chocolates are tasty but they lack the smell, feel and taste of victory. Because each bowl of raspberries is a little victory on so many levels and that’s much more like real life is.
No there was much more to it than walking out and picking the big juicy berries on the top. She thought of all the background work that most people don’t ever consider as they eat that berry. How all that time and those little decisions ripple along and collide with the factors we can’t control. The best maintained berry patch can be levelled by a hail storm so intense that there is nothing left but beat up old canes. The new strapping plants growing so pristinely for next year are desecrated.
That’s what life is like she thought. Hail could so be a metaphor for a crisis like a car accident that claims a young life and cripples someone in their grief. Raspberry blight was like that bloody cancer. The one that robs young, old and in betweens of the life they wanted to live. Instead it replaces it with something they never dreamt could happen to them. Cane rot requires the whole patch be burnt and relocated which she reflected, was what those who had lost their relationships or their jobs were often forced to do.
Better to live through a drought, she thought, even though that had its downsides as well. Less berries with a lower quality and perhaps there was some lesson to be learnt there as well. That smaller bowl was worthy of the same respect as the big juicy bowl full of prime berries. That analogy seemed to elude her grasp and yet sat in front of her face but the metaphor wasn’t jumping up at her. Ps late at night these two thoughts intruded: racism and or white privilege.
Pulling her mind back to the picking of the berries she mulled over that the work of keeping raspberries. The mulching, weeding, cutting back of the floricane at the year end so that the primocane could flourish the following year and the disposal of the canes. Those maintenance items were like seeing brushing your teeth, eating properly, getting enough sleep and stretching. Those self care items that people neglect on themselves but will take care of for others or as it turns out for plants. Perhaps the bees were sent along to help like friends do in real life.
But if the care of them was like self care she rationalized then the use of the berries was like the sweet things in life. Preserving the berries for a cold winters day or eating them fresh with farm cream was hugs and laughter all around. And if life handed you little raspberries then make lemonade. Now that was an analogy she could get behind; that some times difficult situations force us to respond to find the best possible outcome. Yes life definitely was like that.
Perhaps I’ve been spending too much time alone in the raspberry patch!
I am most definitely not having a staycation. By it’s very definition it doesn’t describe what I’ve done in my week “off”.
This first week off is always spent balancing between full on construction work (more on that later in the other blog) and gardening. The peas, beans and raspberries are all ready so I’m squeezing in picking and processing around loads of mortar mixed and rocks set. Add some laundry, house cleaning (well only a tiny tiny tiny little bit of that to be honest) and some financial catch up and hat has filled almost every moment of my first 7 days off.
I did make time to go to Lathey Pool with my baby and her baby. Outdoor swimming, followed by an ice cream sundae at the 8th street DQ, was a summer tradition for well over a decade at our house. My friend discovered Spencer’s first tooth at George Ward Pool. Alyssa’s first set of swimming lessons was at Lathey pool — apparently it looks a lot smaller as an adult than as a child! We had a lovely time introducing Baby A to swimming. She likes it a lot better than the tub apparently.
Soccer and biking (last official ride of the season) have both put in an appearance this week and a couple of evenings by the fire pit were lovely. But no other staycation type activities as it always seems like there is a lot of work to catch up on.
BUT before you give me the gears about not slowing down to smell the roses know that a)I love time in the garden and the kitchen, b)time spent at home, to me, is quality time cause I’m pretty darn lucky with where I live and c)we have something else planned for next week and d)I find beauty where I look.
I suspect it seems odd that I’d be willing to talk about a family secret. No one remembers where it originated from but everyone enjoys it so obviously it’s not a sinister thing like you were all thinking.
My Nanna used to make something called raspberry vinegar and luckily passed the recipe to our mothers and they passed it on to us. I’m happy to say, that for my part, my kids love it and I’m sure they will continue to make it.
It’s certainly not mainstream because googling it brings up raspberry vinaigrette which I made last year and is a totally different story. This is a drink that is slightly sour and slightly sweet which doesn’t even make sense.
Neither does what the magazine Country Woman did to it. Several years ago my sister, who had a subscription, submitted the recipe. They changed it up so much that it was not even recognizable as the same drink. I wrote them a follow-up and let them know how disappointed we were in what they had done to such a fabulous drink. I don’t think they ever corrected it. I do understand what they were trying to do as it is a very time intensive process. It’s not labour intensive just timely.
Basically you take a pail of raspberries, add vinegar and water. Let set x 24 hours, hang to extract juice x 12 hours. Add sugar, boil and pour into hot jars.
Then when you need some liquid sunshine from the garden add three parts water to one part concentrate. Enjoy!
PS – so if you are lucky enough to have some raspberries and need specifics about quantities leave me a comment (which gives me your email) and I will probably share our family secret. 😉
PPS — if you ever find a jelly bag in a store please let me know who carries them. Illusively hard to find but so much easier than cheesecloth
There was a show a few years back where “they” picked apart someone’s sense of style and their wardrobe. Tips were given for shopping and some money and off they went to reinvent their own look but much more tastefully.
Well yes I could have been a participant on it except that I’d bloody well refuse to Continue reading →
I’m pretty good at ignoring the little voice in my head. As a caregiver I’m quite typical in that I usually put myself last. Obviously when you combine those two factors self-neglect happens. Continue reading →