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.)