Tuesday Open Thread ~ I'll Take Potpourri for $100


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“Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
~ Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

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“Summer was here again. Summer, summer, summer. I loved and hated summers. Summers had a logic all their own and they always brought something out in me. Summer was supposed to be about freedom and youth and no school and possibilities and adventure and exploration. Summer was a book of hope. That's why I loved and hated summers. Because they made me want to believe.”
~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
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Blackberry-Picking

Seamus Heaney ~ 1939–2013

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Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

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“I could taste the salt on her lips, each kiss like a summer wave breaking on an empty beach.” ~ Michael Faudet

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“Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.” ~ Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses

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Mother, Summer, I

Philip Larkin ~ 1922–1985

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My mother, who hates thunder storms,
Holds up each summer day and shakes
It out suspiciously, lest swarms
Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there;
But when the August weather breaks
And rains begin, and brittle frost
Sharpens the bird-abandoned air,
Her worried summer look is lost,

And I her son, though summer-born
And summer-loving, none the less
Am easier when the leaves are gone
Too often summer days appear
Emblems of perfect happiness
I can't confront: I must await
A time less bold, less rich, less clear:
An autumn more appropriate.

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Well, that about wraps things up for this week's edition.
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What’s on your mind today?
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Good day all. Just came up with 5 quarts of juicy, ripe, local strawberries.
Will turn them into jam, soon as I can can.

strawberries-1.jpg

A shout out to all intrepid posters. The Friday OT is becoming available if
one should care to give it a whirl.

Cheerios

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@QMS

Strawberries are so delicious, yum, they were the first berry I loved but not the last. And I'm so jealous of a 5qt fresh haul. Homemade jam is the bees knees, too. I haven't learned how to do proper canning yet but I do make a lot of small batch refrigerator jam out of whatever's in season; delectable.

We keep trying to grow our own strawberries here but wily little chipmunks like them just as they're turning pinkish so we've had to accept that until we get a small greenhouse situation going on out there we're really just growing berries to serve the snacking needs of the backyard wildlife.

Hope you enjoy your day and your jam, QMS!

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@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

I grew up on semi-wild black raspberries. About the size of the tip of your finger. Warmed by the sun they were delightfully juicy, not too sweet. On the farm where I grew up in Michigan they choked out the windrows. Would start out with good intentions of harvesting enough for my cereal or pancakes, but usually ate so many along the way that the stash was only enough for my lazy siblings. Scratchy thorns, hungry buzzing bugs and dark red stained fingers and face. But so worth it! Early spring,the birds usually got the sour cherries before I could climb up and pluck them. Otherwise, we had a wonderful Bartlet pear tree ripening in the fall.

Very berry good!

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enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

@QMS

Years ago, during the summer, I used to vacation near a lake in little town called Wurtsboro, in upstate New York. In the middle of the lake there was this small island that was filled with huckleberries. What are huckleberries? A little like blueberries but much sweeter and smaller. Early in the morning my boyfriend and I would get into the canoe and row out to the island to pick huckleberries. When we’d picked enough, we’d make preserves, slap some funny pictures of ourselves on the labels and give the jars out as Christmas gifts. Nice memory.

You can send my jar of strawberry jam by mail with or without the funny label Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

lotlizard's picture

and Nancy Reagan, were she still alive, would have turned 99 (years, not percent).

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Anja Geitz's picture

@lotlizard

GWB Birthday, eh? Next thing we’re gonna hear is that not only did he get more “likable” with age, he got smarter too. Imagine that? I guess that’s the advantage of having control of your own press pool.

Nancy Reagan? Funny, but I can’t think of anything to say about that clothes rack of a woman.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Anja I saw your great news in another thread about getting together with Zelda and wanted to wish you two many happy eco-friendly miles together. Smile

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

It’s a beautiful car. I’m so careful with it I actually drive the speed limit now. Lol. I have a friend who remarked that us Californians are a bit obsessed with our cars. But i think he just said that because I named my car and he thinks Californians are a bit nuts anyways. Don’t know. I used to be a New Yorker, and those people are really nuts, so I guess it’s relative.

How’s your summer going during this pandemic? Any summer memories you have that make you feel wistful thinking of them?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

I suspect even California and New York together couldn't out-crazy Florida, but I may carry a bit of a bias against my homeland. I'm pretty sure a couple guys I grew up with would've legally married their cars, if the state had permitted.

This summer is full of medical stuff for me but so far it's all still aftercare and screening related so hopefully I'll catch a little luck on the summer breeze and keep getting those "no evidence of disease" results so I can try to get the framework of a decent backyard garden laid in for next season.

Best wishes also to your sister, btw, I hope she's feeling well.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

Well, ya got me on the Florida comparison, so California and New York City will have to settle for second place in the nut job department. Speaking of which, I seem to remember an author who uses the unique brand of Florida craziness in his books. Can’t remember his name or if the books are in the mystery genre but he lives in Florida and his novels are very well known. Hmmmm...that isn’t very helpful, is it? Gah!

I wish you a healthy summer and a good prognosis. Thank for asking after my Sister. She’s doing well but goes through the same worry you do when she gets tested to see if the cancer came back. My brother-in-law and I both hold our collective breath as she goes through it. Certainly makes all of us so appreciative of our family, our friends, and the things that brings us everyday joys. Perspective is a mighty fine thing, Rev. Jane, and I suspect you’ve cultivated it into an art form yourself.

Hugs my dear and be well.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

Thanks and backatcha. Smile

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

Ever read anything from him?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

He captures the deeply weird spirit of South Florida very well, which is hard to do. But I haven't read much fiction for a while. In recent years it's been mostly theory, politics, poetry, so nothing recent.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

And I could use funny right about now.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Raggedy Ann's picture

You've conjured up memories of taking my grandkids to Cape Cod for summer vacations. Was just there last year but probably won't be back anytime soon, now that my son moved from Boston to Colorado. My granddaughter had been asking me to take her back so we went last year. It was a very healing time for me in so many ways.

Well, hope all is well with you. I've been busy with life around here. I'm so grateful to the Covid for bringing me home. Mr RA and I have done so much work around the house that's been lagging for months and years. I'm so grateful to the Covid for making me stop and live presently and learn to love all beings, all things.

Enjoy your week, everyone! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

Anja Geitz's picture

@Raggedy Ann

Thank you for making me remember Cape Cod! Wonderful place to spend the summer! Don’t blame your granddaughter for wanting to go back. We all want to go back to the Cape.

Glad to see you back in the threads. Always enjoy your lightness of spirit, my friend.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

thanks for the OT and the Neruda nudge. Makes me want to read some poetry.

I read about your new car acquisition in Smiley's OT on Saturday...congrats and enjoy. I too had a T. Corolla that we drove, drove, drove, until it would drive no more. The door handles cracked and broke, etc., etc. It was a good car though, mine was a stick shift and so I could pretend it had a bit of pep.

I like this although it doesn't fit with your summer/berry theme (my favorite is blueberry-picking in the Northern Boreal forest) but it is Neruda:

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Anja Geitz's picture

@randtntx

Thank you for that beautiful moment, Randa. Touched me deeply. Do you know the name of the poem?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz , l agree with you and think that it is amazing. The name of the poem is Keeping Quiet
Be well and take good care.

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enhydra lutris's picture

Thanks ever so much for such a nice start to the day. The fourth picture - so many beaches I have been to, so much of my life along those sands. Thanks again.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

@enhydra lutris

Summertime. Beaches. Memories. They kinda go together, don’t they?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

My fondest childhood memory of summertime is picking dewberries along the fences in southeast Texas. We could eat our fill as we picked and still had enough to take home for our mother to make jam or cobblers. Such nice times

Did not read about the car but congrats. Had a 1990 Toyota Celica that was my baby. When I finally sold it in 2003, it only had 99,000 miles. Had a For Sale sign in window at school and another teacher came up to me and said you cannot sell that car. It is part of our school's history. Lol. And by the way, my new car name is Waldo and the electronics that talk to you is Jazmina. I have found she does not like bushes and screams when I park to close to a hedge.

Have a wonderful Tuesday and thanks for memories of earlier summers.

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

Anja Geitz's picture

@jakkalbessie

Sorry, forgot to hit reply button. My reply to you is downthread. Derp.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Lily O Lady's picture

but when my dad lost his job we got really serious. We picked and mom made pies and jam and ice cream. We had so many berries that year we didn’t know what to do with them. We didn’t realize that we were following the ancient tradition of the commons. The scavenging helped get my parents, three siblings and me through tough times.

Those wild berry canes grew wild all over Virginia, but what is foolishly known as progress wiped them out long ago. One wonderful berry patch grew under high tension wires. It was impossible to imagine then that a strip mall would one day occupy that place of such bounty. I wonder if any of those wild canes still survive among all that civilization. What a loss!

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Anja Geitz's picture

@Lily O Lady

Nice memory. Trying to imagine you and your siblings picking enough berries to sustain your families berry picking needs. I’m curious, what did you carry the black berries in? And which one of you kids were the one to sit in the kitchen and watch your mom make pies? Open faced pies, or did she put a crust on top? Inquiring minds would like to know these very important things Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

lotlizard's picture

@Anja Geitz  
with criss-crossing strips of crust, so the fruit filling is visible through the gaps.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@lotlizard

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

lotlizard's picture

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@lotlizard
.
and berry cluster appear to be holly renderings.
Some birds here go crazy for those. Haven't yet figured out
how to make them edible, but we have a fair amount of hollies here.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@QMS

The design is in fact holly related. It’s taken from a Christmas pie!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Anja Geitz's picture

You made me look up dewberries. What a great name for a berry. Love to imagine children picking and eating berries in anticipation of mom’s cobbler. My mother did peach cobbler. Fresh California peaches back in the day when they had peach fuzz on them. Funny thing is, being German, my Mother was more a Bundt cake maker until a friend of hers, who was originally from Arkansas, introduced my Mother to southern cobblers. Then she took Carol Jo’s recipe and made it her own. And boy was it good! She’d put a little peach brandy in her cobbler. Serve it to us warm, with ice cream, in a shallow bowl and a spoon.

I’m getting verklempt just thinking about it.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Granma's picture

I love the art you've shared today.
My dad used to take us blackberry picking. We lived in southern Indiana and the blackberries were enormous, as wel as delicious. In the Pacific Northwest, blackberries also grow wild and are yummy, but they are much smaller, so it takes a lot more picking to get enough for a cobbler or pie.

One summer my daughter brought a peach and blackberry cobbler to a potluck supper. It looked funny because of the colors of the fruits, but was the best cobbler I've ever eaten.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Granma

Yeah, that’s the trouble with huckleberries too. They’re tiny and take a lot of picking to make a decent batch of preserves.

Thanks for the cobbler story. Made me smile and reminded me of the time I used purple carrots in a stew. Looked beautiful raw, but once cooked they took on this weird brown color that with their shape looked a little like, er, cat turds in my stew. Ha!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Granma's picture

@Anja Geitz

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Lookout's picture

It has been blueberry city here. Five gallons frozen and more to go. Picking 30 min or so every morning. To freeze we use a cookie sheet to spread out one layer of berries. Put it in the freezer for an hour or so till frozen. Pour them in a jar, bag or whatever to store in the freezer. Then when you use them you can easily pour out the amount you want. Eat them with our homemade yogurt regularly. Yum!

Had a busy AM. Went to trade day and got nice avocados, and yard eggs...both on the cheap. Had to buy tractor gas and there's a place in town with non-ethanol which I use. Then a quick trip to the grocery for a few items. Finally back home to pick berries.

The garden is quite the task master, been picking, cooking and freezing lots. That's my summer experience this year. Not complaining mind you, but kinda feels like work.

Thanks for the art and poetry...

Summer Sun - by Robert Louis Stevenson

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Anja Geitz's picture

@Lookout

Definitely sounds like a busy life for you in the summer! Thanks for the excellent tip in freezing berries. How brilliant. So, I guess my berry picking theme was right on the money, eh?

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

Pictures are wonderful, but so are the right words. Lovely.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

magiamma's picture

@Lookout
Two mornings at 5am to clear and locate the nest. Today again to cover nest with a big rock and then to pour diatomaceous earth and then diluted soap on the entrance. So covering worked but the uneven and loose ground allowed them to dig out around the rock. So a little soapy water did the trick. I feel oddly bad for them but it was impossible to work in my garden. Thanks for the tip. It helped me to persevere. Very aggressive insects.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

@magiamma @magiamma

Have paper wasps learning to live with.
They build a nice baseball sized paper shell
on one of my workshop window frames.
Decided to just let them bee.
Guess they are half-assed pollinators
and don't get too excited if I talk nice to them.

Good luck!

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magiamma's picture

@QMS
Jackets. Vicious. I hates them. They bit me.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

lotlizard's picture

@magiamma  

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earthling1's picture

earthling2 has owned her 89' Toyota Corolla for 20 years and now has 240k miles on it. Still runs great! Hardly drives it anymore as we both share the Leaf. But its there for friends and family to use in a pinch.
Just discovered a huge patch of Salmonberries along the creek that runs through the Realm of Pan (the farm). Don't know when to pick them for pies, when they are yellow, orange, or red.
They are yellow right now and a little tart, but munchable.
Would send photos but since I switched to Duckduck go I am unable to upload them.
Great poems too, thanks for that also.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Anja Geitz's picture

@earthling1

Gosh, who would’ve thought I’d learn so much about berries today. How marvelous! Here’s a picture of some salmonberries I found while doing a search. Although I forgot what part of the country you live so I’m not sure where they grow? I did find this interesting, though..

They’re called “Salmonberries” because of their resemblance to salmon roe. Ikura!

22DD0155-16A0-4190-95E6-F5A3C683B322.jpeg

Also included a nice piece about making preserves with them. Enjoy.

Thanks for sharing your Realm of Pan explorations Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

smiley7's picture

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Anja Geitz's picture

@smiley7

But the pleasure was mine. Truly. Had so much fun putting this one together. So glad everyone enjoyed it. Sending California sunshine and palm trees your way, if only through my thoughts.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Love the pictures and your memories of the beach.
Being a red head with skin so lacking in pigment, my sunburns would lead to a visit to a hospital.
Picking dew berries and black berries is still fun, and they grow wild all over my acreage. Friends come to pick. Some carry sticks to beat away the snakes, the rest of us just pick. It is essential to toss in some red berries in the cobbler or pie to give it a little tang.
My summers were riding a horse in the woods all day long, or playing under sprinklers with the dogs and maybe some friends.
Summer rock and roll always seemed better than during school.
Possibly the association with fun all day instead of teachers telling someone in the classroom to hush.
On this summer day, I got my office phones to actually work in my temporary office. Tomorrow, 2 computers get hooked up, and until I can get to a store, my desk will be a plastic table, my chair is some metal folding one, and I don't care, my clients don't care, and it will just be wonderful to get back into the swing of things.
Go drive around town in Zelda. Be the cool chick!

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Anja Geitz's picture

@on the cusp

Whenever I come to visit I’m going to go berry picking and make a lovely cobbler. You can supply the ice cream Smile

I’ve figured out a way to hook up my Spotify channel to the excellent sound system in the Prius so Zelda and I have got our groove down as we drive through town bumpin’ to the music.

Will probably give you a call later to see how things are going with rebuilding. Hang in there Chica!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

dystopian's picture

Love the art Anja. And love berries of any type. Have lived with big blackberry hedges a couple places and the birds had to be quick to get more than me. A pile on a high grade of vanila ice cream is hard to beat.

Hat tip to jakkalbessie for the Dewberry mention! They are great, a Texas blackberry. Sometimes the 'grannies' around town (as at craft fair) sell their local native jellies. MMMmmm good.

Thanks, and be well!

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Anja Geitz's picture

@dystopian

Sounds like a winning combination if there ever was one! Glad you enjoyed the artwork. I had a lot of fun picking them out Smile

Be well dystopian.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Thanks for knowing what dewberries were dystopian. Afraid when first wrote about them, this was just a local term and not a real berry. Anja thanks for this OT, what great memories came up with this. There were others, crabbing on Sundays after church, Little League baseball games and on and on. Guess growing up in rural Texas did have some benefits for me

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Life is what you make it, so make it something worthwhile.

This ain't no dress rehearsal!

Anja Geitz's picture

@jakkalbessie

Pick one day to go back as children and re-live it knowing what we know now. Then I imagine running into another kid like me who came back from the future and we’d sit there on the beach making sandcastles, or swing on a tree swing going as high as we could go, secretly sharing our experience of being a kid for a day again. Would it enhance the experience, or would our adult brain want to complicate it? I dunno, but gosh, what I wouldn't give to see my young beautiful Mother again and be able to make her laugh like my Sister and I could do.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier