Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Berry Picking

Last week, a friend texted me about going berry picking one afternoon with the littles. 

At the beginning of the summer, I would have been all for it. One might even go so far as to say I was rarin' to go.  And then this summer kicked into high gear like a runaway Harley, 
leaving me hanging onto the tailpipe for dear life. 

So, I had serious doubts as to my energy level and general emotional state going into something that was sure to be a hot, crowded ordeal involving tears, fights, dipping into the college fund for concession-stand snacks and souvenirs, and ending with me curled in the fetal position under a blackberry bush somewhere. 

This adventure was none of those things. 
 In fact, it was EXACTLY the opposite type of experience
 I have come to expect from summer outings. 

We drove out to a little farm in Lebanon called Circle S Farms on an overcast afternoon.  Only one other parking spot was occupied in the gravel lot, and we got out and 
followed a sign that said, "Start Here." 
This sign says, "Hey, Y'all!"  Well, "Hey!" yourself
Why can't they ever look at the camera?  Why?!
The place was blessedly quiet, and unsettlingly peaceful.  Not a soul besides ourselves was in sight, and I got more than a little nervous about not having the safety of a herd to follow or a line to wait in.  The place is totally self-serve, so we popped our money in the lock box and chose our containers.  Some of us got a little overzealous and went for the big baskets with handles, but, when reminded that, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit," it was all good.

Armed with our equipment/baskets, we descended on the berry bushes like locusts.  

Really slow-moving, make-your-mom-do-all-the-work locusts. 
The kids had a good time determining the readiness of the berries for picking 
as they sampled the product along the way.

Good thing we didn't go for the jumbo basket.

Teamwork and show tunes made the work go quicker.

Just kidding. 
 I wish there had been show tunes...

Just a boy and the dog that owned the farm.
The kids chased a sweet little beagle-girl around the farm for awhile and named her Jewel. 

Then, it was time for some fossil-digging in this most awesome of sandboxes.
Then we did some see-sawing...

...and cattle-roping.
Almost got him!
We had such fun, we're already planning another trip out there.  
With this kind of haul, we were excited to figure out what we could make with all of that gorgeous fruit.  Sarah suggested a pie, but I don't bake unless you want something the consistency and flavor profile of a charcoal briquette. 

We decided on cobbler, because it's pretty hard to burn cobbler.  
Not impossible, but pretty hard.  

Because I'm lazy and I thought of a cool name for it, 
I just lumped all of the blueberries and blackberries together in the same dish.  

Without further ado, I give you...

Black and Blue Cobbler
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries and blackberries
  • 1 cup of milk
  1. Grease a 9 x 9 baking dish and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. Mix the flour and sugar together thoroughly.  
  4. Pour the milk and butter in your sugar/flour mixture and stir it up.
  5. Rinse and drain your berries, then dump them in a bowl.  Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar over the berries and mix it all in. 
  6. Pour the batter mixture into the baking dish, and then pour the berries and sugar on top. 
  7. Bake for an hour (or so) and enjoy the yummy smells while you read a romance novel.
  8. After it's all goldeny and gooey, take that bad boy out and pat yourself on the back for not burning it. 
This is why you HAVE to use self-rising flour.  Not very cobbler-looking, but it eats just as good. 

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