Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's The Berries

The last week of June my Jeep took a nosedive and I canceled my N. Ontario fishing trip while I waited for a new transmission. Spending a few thousand dollars on something as boring as a new transmission and hanging close to home was not what I had planned for any week this summer. It was the pits! Although, I have had some curious lifestyle insights as I look at things close up and close to home.

Have you heard the term “food miles?” Food miles is the distance a food travels from where it is grown to your plate. The term food miles is used to address the energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions (contributing to climate change) attached with each food we purchase.

And I do my share of adding on the food miles. From my home, it’s a 16-mile round trip to the nearest grocery store. And if I were to count the food miles it takes me to collect the fish I eat all year long, it would be an astronomical number.

But during my week without transportation, I turned to the “groceries” close to home. The area around my home is loaded with wild berries. I’m delighted by just about all berries, straw (last month), blue (this month), and black and rasp (next month) are my favorites. Blueberries in particular, according to those who are more health conscious than I, will keep me living perhaps much longer than I want. Now maybe the anti-oxidant property of blueberries is just propaganda, but if they’re free and they taste great right off the bush, then why not? The rain we’ve had in June has made this year’s crop of blueberries big, juicy and sweet. I’ve already picked and frozen enough to get me through an entire year.

Unfortunately, the dogs are also partial to the berries. I will have just found a nice patch for picking, settle in with my bucket, and one or both of the dogs will come grazing through and strip berries off the plants like they were machines made for the task. What they might have missed, is left all slobbery on the bush. Then my pups sit at an inappropriately close distance to me and not so quietly hack up the leaves that got caught in their throats during their berry pillage.

I was at the bank the other day, rearranging finances in order to pay for my new transmission, when I mentioned to Shelly, my new savior in the transmission incident, that I would be drowning in blueberries if I didn’t get the Jeep back on the road soon. Between the two of us, we came up with seven ways to prepare blueberries; blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie, blueberry slump, blueberry cobbler, blueberry crisp and blueberry buckle. I’m looking for more, so feel free to send them on.

All in all, it’s has not a bad way to spend some forced time off.

“I think it's always best to be who you are.” ~Halle Berry

“You can say any foolish thing to do to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'” ~Dave Berry

“Don't let the same dog bite you twice.” ~Chuck Berry