Laying in supplies

You may have heard about a little storm that blew across the country yesterday…? We’ve had a few tornado scares since I moved to Georgia, but this was the first time that our local weather guy was basically spinning around and screaming “DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!!”

It’s times like these when I kind of miss having a basement.

Oh, sure. We have a “safe interior room” in our house—it’s underneath the staircase, through the laundry closet and behind the washer and dryer. (Have you tried the Turkish Delight back there? Delish!) It is precisely big enough to hold the four of us and Licorice, assuming that we all really like each other and don’t mind being stacked up like cordwood. It is also just the right size to hold the big bag of dog food and other pantry overflow items, so Otto took everything OUT of that space yesterday to make sure we’d have a place to seek shelter if necessary. Now our kitchen is too cluttered to accommodate people, but whatever. Safety first!

The storm wasn’t slated to arrive until after dark, though. So naturally, we went strawberry picking, first.

It’s less ridiculous than it sounds, though maybe only a little. With a forecast for lightning, high winds, hail, and tornadoes, our local farm stood to sustain heavy damage to the crop if the storm was as bad as we feared. And we take our strawberries seriously, yo.

So we drove out there late in the afternoon, met up with some friends, and our collective swarm of children set to eating their way down the rows. We adults set to picking, and eventually Monkey fell in beside me, chattering along in an endless stream of narration that made me wonder about the syndication possibilities for The Strawberry Picking Channel.

“Whoa, look at this one! It’s huge! But it’s not quite as red on the other side, so I think it needs to ripen more. I’ll leave it there. This one looks pretty good, but it’s not as big. I think I’ll just… well… I picked it kind of by accident, but I don’t know. Maybe I’d better eat it! Mmmm, that’s good. Okay, look over here, there’s a bunch, but they’re touching the ground and we don’t want the ones touching the ground. Oh! Over here! I just found a whole bunch. OOOOOHHHHH! This one’s all deformed! But really red. I’m going to show it to Otto. Did you find any, Mom? I am finding a bunch. I’m pretty good at this. But you are, too, because look how many you have in your bucket! Do you want me to pick some for your bucket, too, to help?”

I found his play-by-play rather soothing, actually, to tamp down the fear I was feeling about the storm, the apparent absurdity in having chosen to go berry-picking a few hours before Armageddon.

Eventually we packed up three heaping gallons of fresh berries and headed home. While Otto dragged things into the garage and otherwise secured the house, the kids got ready for bed, and I surveyed my sticky counter and an endless pile of berries and wondered what I had done.

The house was prepared. The kids went to bed. Slowly, I washed, prepped, sliced, and put away our haul. One giant container of fresh, whole berries to eat in the next few days. Three small lunch containers for everyone to take to school/work this morning, assuming life as usual. One medium container of slices to use for ice cream/sorbet/pie/shortcake/whatever this weekend. And bags and bags of frozen berries for smoothies or other later uses.

It was a long night; lots of weather alerts, a worried and pacing dog, a husband glued to the radar for several hours. But the storm passed by wreaked havoc elsewhere, but not here.

Relief. We were lucky.

This morning we were groggy and tired, and we overslept and the kitchen is a mess, but Monkey got excited all over again about the strawberries. (Maybe Chickadee did, too? It’s hard to tell once they become teenagers and only speak in grunts before 10:00 a.m.)

In the grand scheme, yesterday was a pretty excellent day.

(Photo by Otto. Mad berry skillz and general cuteness by Monkey.)


  1. Mike Golch

    sounds like it was fun.Not the weather but the strawberry pickin.

  2. Aimee

    No, don’t eat the Turkish Delight!

    I love that picture of Monkey. Somehow, in spite of the fact that you never show their faces, I still feel like the pictures capture something essential about both kids. I love that.

    Very glad the storm did not get you, but rather horrified about how many people it *did* get.

  3. Lynn in Mass

    That’s great that the storm missed you, even better that you got some Strawberry picking in. I love Strawberries and haven’t been picking in years

  4. KarenP

    Glad the storm missed you. At least you get some type of warning unlike out here where it is earthquake country. Great picture Otto!

  5. sassymonkey

    Only villains eat Turkish Delight! Or at least that’s what Endymion Spring would have me believe.

    I can’t believe it’s already strawberry season that. We have something like two months before we get there.

  6. dad

    When the going gets tough
    the tough go strawberry picking.

    Just think, if you had to take refuge in your bomb shelter
    you could have passed the time eating strawberries and cream
    with the little fingers of your hands extended, of course.
    Very classy.

    Glad you are all OK.

  7. StephLove

    We won’t have ripe, local strawberries for a month up here in Maryland. I am jealous.

    I’m the glad the storms passed you by.

  8. Rachel

    Heh, I’ll raise StephLove’s “for a month” to ‘We won’t have ripe, local strawberries for four months up here in North Dakota.’ Not to be all woe is me, my life is so much harder, but because her comment made me laugh & I’m super jealous of fresh strawberries so early in the year. = )

    Glad the storms missed you & homemade sorbet, yum!!

  9. Tenessa

    We’ve been getting strawberries from our CSA for almost a month! YAY! Strawberry season is my most favorite. If I had more money than Warren Buffett (or heck, I’d settle for as much as Steve Jobs), I would buy a house in all the various areas that have differing strawberry seasons and move to accommodate such. WOW, then I could have fresh strawberries ALL THROUGH THE SUMMER!!! Oh man.

  10. Katie in MA

    I was thinking about you guys all night! Glad it all stayed well away from you.

    Also – somewhat randomly – mad props for the red shirt to avoid any strawberry stains.

  11. Jodie

    You can actually see how much Monkey has grown up in this shot (which is amazing with the face missing). Maybe it’s the hair and height?

    Glad you guys are OK and I also sort of bow before your skills with buying food ahead, freezing it and then USING it. We tend to buy ahead, freeze it and then completely forget we have it…until 5 years later.

  12. Scottsdale Girl

    Holee RED! I want that strawberry in my mouth RIGHT NOW

  13. liz

    Imagine the fantastic strawberry daiquiris you can make to celebrate the passing of Stormageddon April 2011!

  14. Kelly

    Love it! We were lucky as well but wish I had some strawberries…

  15. Kelly Allan

    Kids are fun. I just got back from an emergency room visit involving a nose and a popcorn kernal.

    Now I have to go buy some strawberries.


    Two out of three people I adore in Georgia were missed, thank you. bon appetite!

  17. elz

    Glad you made it through unharmed. I’ve stayed and sheltered through one tornado and 2 hurricanes and it is NOT fun. At all. I forgot Monkey cut his hair. Even though I can’t see him, he looks so different. Enjoy your strawberries my dear.

  18. Brigid

    I just guffawed at the “DANGER!” part because it’s so true. The sky was actually falling, or so it seemed. We had the spaciousness of our basement, but also the added guessing game of “Is water coming in now?” “How about now?” “Now?” “Still dry?” Luckily we made it through without having to get our waders on.

  19. Heather

    I live in Birmingham & your family is BLESSED that the storm missed you guys. Parts of town look like a bomb went off. My house is not expected to have power back to it in almost 2 weeks because the main transmission lines are laying on the side of the interstate. Thankfully my whole family is alive & safe, my work has power so I am able to make some $ even though my bank is closed until further notice since the corporate office took a direct hit.

    Glad you guys had fun picking strawberries! The strawberry farm up by my house was destroyed yesterday too… =(

  20. Navhelowife

    Missed us too. I’m sorry for all the people it hit. But I don’t think i could have taken a tornado on top of everything else going on here.

  21. karen

    Hey, atleast it wasn’t berries and scream!

    That was just bad. But it came to me! So it’s out.

  22. Belinda

    I would have done the SAME THING. Also, this is the summer you put up strawberry jam.

  23. Liza

    I am so glad you guys are all ok.

    And astounded by all the strawberries. Mine have barely taken root, have not bloomed or anything, and are months? weeks? years? away from making big delicious red yum. It barely even feels like spring here.

  24. Anna

    Tenessa? Ever-bearing strawberries are a very.good.thing.

    Mir, so glad you’re okay. Those poor, poor strawberries, though, they’ll have to be eaten.

  25. mamaspeak

    I’m glad you all were safe & missed.

  26. Angela

    Glad y’all are okay. Down here in Houston we’re getting NO storms whatsoever and the worst drought in years. Better than tornados, gotta tell ya. We’ve been picking strawberries at our local farm for 6 weeks or so now, love ’em! And fresh strawberry daquiris sound great!

  27. The Mommy Therapy

    So happy the storm passed over you all.

    Unforunately, now all I am thinking about is how to get some fresh strawberries as soon as possible to make some deliciousness.

    Glad all is well!

  28. Sharon

    Glad it passed you- we just got our power back on. Thank God it didn’t hit us- it totally demolished the grocery store and another neighborhood a 1/4 mile away. Kep these people in your prayers.

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