Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 3, 2014

Berryfull – Summer Day 13

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:59 am
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Mmmmmmm! Fresh strawberries. I am addicted to them. The local strawberry season for this area is approximately Father’s Day to the 4th of July. I have to get them while I can. July usually begins raspberry season in my back yard. My raspberries are not super-bountiful but my bushes tend to produce a good sized handful per day for a couple weeks. That is just enough. Raspberries have a tendency to go soft and squishy rather quickly, and I prefer not to refrigerate if I can get away with it in order to preserve the really fresh flavor.

While the berries are in season, I have the tendency to pop them in my mouth each time I pass through the kitchen. On one of my pass-throughs last night, I discovered this:
Mutant berry (top view)

A mutant! LOL!

Mutant berry

The mutant tasted just as good as the rest of them. 😉

June 22, 2014

Days 2 and 3 of 66 Days of Summer

Day 2 of my summer break was the actual Summer Solstice. 16 hours and 23 minutes of daylight I calculated for my area, including the civil twilight times before sunrise and after sunset. I celebrated the solstice with homemade strawberry shortcake! Strawberries are at their peak around here right now, so I also made homemade biscuits and whipped cream to complement them.
let's make shortcake
Berries to be sliced and biscuits ready for the oven

fresh strawberries
Juicy and delicious

homemade whipped cream

homemade biscuits
Flaky and fabulous!

strawberry shortcake
Finished product!

Day 3 turned out to be a somewhat lazy Sunday. I did the stuff that needed doing, but I also spent some time here:
summer stuff
My anti-gravity lounge chair, iPod, bluetooth speaker, Kindle, bottle of water and the radio to listen to the Red Sox game!

Time to kick back!

Themes for these days? How about “Solstice and Shortcake” for yesterday and “Lazy Lounging” for today? 😉

July 2, 2011


Filed under: Recipes — Karma @ 10:28 am
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This past Wednesday, my younger daughter and I went strawberry picking at a local farm.  I wasn’t sure we’d still be able to pick since I thought the peak season was probably done, but we had no trouble filling this large tray.  I’d say we picked somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds.  It was a great deal – an end of the season special.  They gave us the tray and said fill it as much as we could for $15. 

Beautiful and fresh, there is nothing like a just-picked strawberry:

By Wednesday night, however, some of those berries were starting to smell not-so-fresh.  Probably one of the dangers of end-of-the-season picking.  I enlisted the help of both my girls, and we set to work “processing.”  I picked through the tray and set aside two containers of the biggest, firmest berries to keep for fresh eating.  Then, we took the rest and hulled and sliced.  I ended up with 3 containers of berries that I needed to decide how to use. 

Last night we had this again, and yesterday I decided to try jam making.  Do you remember when I made grape jelly in the fall?  It was quite the messy and complicated process.  I am happy to report that strawberry jam is much easier!

Mash the berries:

(5 mashed cups – used up probably 10 fresh cups?)

Add 7 cups of sugar and one box of Sure Jell. Cook to a rolling boil.

Fill 4 pint jars with wicked hot strawberry goo:

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool for 24 hours:

I think that nifty-fifty lens did a lovely job with the late afternoon light on these jars, didn’t it?

24 hours later will be this afternoon, so I still haven’t tried my jam.  I’ll be happy to provide you with an update later.

  I’ve got one more container of sliced berries in the fridge – I’ve got another strawberry recipe I’m hoping to get to today that should help use some of them up.  I hope that you are enjoying your Fourth of July weekend and eating something delicious too.

January 9, 2011

Picture Winter Days 8 and 9

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 5:51 pm
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I didn’t get around to posting yesterday’s photo prompt shot due to the fact that I spent most of the day at a party affectionately know as “Pig Out.”  It is a tradition that has been going on for at least 20 years – none of the Pig Out participants are exactly sure what year it was when it started, but we’re just glad it did indeed begin!  The point of the party is getting together with a small group that we just don’t get to see at Christmas time, and of course, pigging out.  In addition to myself, the group includes my sister, our best friend Renae, our mother, Renae’s mother, Renae’s aunt, my children and Renae’s children.  A friend recently asked how one gains rights to this exclusive club.  One must be an original participant or be born into it!  No boys allowed either.  (Renae’s young son has a temporary pass that will likely be revoked when he is a teenager who won’t be interested in our girl talk anyway!) 

“Texture Seekers”

Finding texture around the house was yesterday’s prompt, and lucky for me, Pig Out provided:

Chocolate covered strawberries, made by my mother.  Delicious!

“Bundle Up”

Today’s prompt read: “Whether it’s based on comfort level or aesthetics, today’s prompt is to showcase something from your winter wardrobe and distill what it is that warms not only your body but your soul.”  I chose these:

These gloves aren’t actually mine but I keep stealing them!  My sister gave them to my daughter for Christmas, but I want them for myself!  I love the “flip top” mitten that sets my fingers free for using the camera while I’m outside.  I should really get a pair of my own, but I haven’t found a set anywhere and I suspect it will be more difficult to find them as winter goes on.  I chose to present these gloves on a soft and fuzzy scarf that was knitted for me by Renae.  How’s that for a post that came full circle?

June 26, 2010

Berries Abound…and not

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 11:37 am
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There!  Those beauties got your attention, didn’t they? 😉

This is a story of another love/hate relationship (my camera, my hydrangeas..etc)  in my life.  Well, hate may be a bit too strong of a word, but it sounds better than love/strong dislike.  I love berries.  I can’t think of a berry I don’t like as I sit here typing.  Years ago, my husband came home from Home Depot or Lowe’s or some manly place like that with a very innocent looking little 6-pack of raspberry plants.  Hubby not being much of a fruit-eater, I was pleased he wanted to make this addition to my backyard garden.  I had already planted some seedless concord grape vines on the side of our house, and there was some space left between the grapes and our deck where I thought the raspberries would fit nicely.  I don’t think we got many berries that first year, but the plants did nicely and continued to grow each year.  Now this is what they look like:

That innocent little 6-pack has turned into a ginormous, roving, monster of a berry beast!  Those are my grapevines in the background of the shot, climbing the house.  The raspberries have invaded the grapes’ space, my lawn ( I run over small shoots each time I mow) and my deck:

Each year I cut them back, but each year they keep coming!  Their invasive nature is the “strong dislike” part of this story, but every year, I forgive them because I get this:

Aren’t they beautiful?  Like everything else this year, the raspberries are early, robust and bountiful.  Back in the beginning of the month, I took this shot:

I was very excited about what was coming.  I normally don’t pick raspberries until July.  For at least the past week or so, my daughter has been picking a bowlful like this on a daily basis:

(I included the shot with “Blue’s Clues” on the bowl because I think its kinda funny.  My daughters are teenagers now, but we still have this bowl from one of their favorite shows when they were little.)

And now for the “not” part of the story.  Two years ago my sister gave me some strawberry plants from her huge patch, which also began with an innocent little 6-pack brought home from the store by her husband ( I think – correct me if I’m wrong, Jennifer).  The patch has come to be known as “Larry’s Berries” over the years.  But I digress.  With my vegetable garden taking up all the space to one side of my deck and raspberries and grapes on the other, I needed a place for the strawberries.  I didn’t want to add them to the end of my veggie garden because Larry’s Berries have ended up taking up a prodigious amount of space in Jennifer’s garden.  The space near the back of my house and deck is the sunniest in my yard, so I wished to reserve it for my veggies.  The next sunniest space is where our above ground pool is
Sparkley pool

..so I decided to create a small space to the side of it to create what I was sure would be my very own bountiful strawberry patch
Strawberry fields forever?

The plants grew pretty well.  This is  our third year with the plants and it was looking good this spring, with lots of blossoms and tiny berries:

This area is a bit further away from the house, closer to the wooded area of the yard.  Last year, the few berries we got were eaten by critters, I’m thinking chipmunks, despite the bird netting we protected them with.  We tried a new strategy with the netting this year, but didn’t have enough to cover the whole patch because it had indeed grown in size.  Hubby promised to get me some more and finish covering it over while I was at work.  Well, things happen, and the netting was never fully put in place.  I’m not sure this netting would have even saved our little patch.  Critters can be fairly industrious and this is what we ended up with for strawberries this year:

I’m thinking maybe I should find a new place for my strawberry patch next year!

Oh well, I’ll enjoy my raspberries for as long as we can pick them.  Because of their delicate nature, raspberries don’t seem to keep long enough for me to gather enough to cook something wonderful from them.  I just have to eat them! Bummer, huh?