Thursday, August 7, 2008

picking black currants in the mist

So far August hasn't been very August-like. There has been lots of rain, drizzle, fog, mist, clouds, and other precipitation-category weather. Every now and again the sun pokes out, but not enough to dry clothes or justify going swimming. The snow peas are doing pretty good, but the sugar peas are pretty pathetic, growing only a foot or maybe two on the trellis, where in other summers they climb five feet or more.

The currants, however, are "busting out all over". They're not ripening very quickly, but they are ripening, which is inspiring. And they have to come in and be frozen, and saved for the winter, so despite the lack of sunshine, we're picking them. In the mist.

It gives one a certain hardy feeling, however, to be accumulating fine drizzly drops on one's surfaces, as one picks the purple-black berries, popping every fifth berry (or so) into one's mouth. It's as if one is a crofter in Scotland, thinking ahead to winter's porridge, which will be augmented by these Vitamin-C laden jewels.

Barbara Kingsolver, in the much-lauded (especially by me) book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life", writes, "In my view, homeland security derives from having enough potatoes." (p. 80). Or enough black currants.

Other than harvesting in the mist, summer is ticking along as normal. (Besides for having no hot weather, that is.) For one thing, it's going way faster than it "should", which (of course) happens every year. We realized the other day that in three and a half weeks, my brother will be going back to school. It really, honestly does seem like it was last week he came home for the summer!

I'm hoping that we'll get at least a few more days of summer weather before autumn comes. As much as I love autumn, and as happy as I was yesterday when it felt like autumn (temperature around 18ÂșC, a stiff breeze blowing the trees around, clouds scudding across the sky), it's August seventh, dammit! I know global climate systems are a little bit bigger than I am, but so help me, I need at least one more skin-toasting, hot-ass summer's day before the end of the month. Stat!

Oh and, the pie shown above didn't actually contain any black currants. I made it a week ago, and it contained blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, which are all admirable berries, as well.

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