The Fruits of Someone Else’s Labor

I lucked out. In too many ways to mention, but I’m focusing on just one here. My humble little house has oddly disproportionate yard — and it’s full of wonderful little surprises.

To the right of my house, next to my driveway, is a good-sized peach tree. (How very Georgia, I know.) I’ve been patiently waiting, and the fruit is getting HUGE, but is still green and hard. The branches aren’t able to support the weight of the fruit any more, and many of them are dragging the ground. Looks a bit like a weeping willow.

In the back yard, near two TOWERING pecan trees (great climbing trees – I would have killed for this yard as a kid!) is a lovely little pear tree. This fruit isn’t quite ripe yet either, but that hasn’t stopped a plethora of wildlife from snatching it up. Little half-eaten pears can be found all over.

Honeysuckle, though now beginning to dry up, blankets the bushes in the front and back of the house, thefragrance tempting me to walk around with trumpet-shaped blossoms sticking out of my mouth like a little girl.

Wild strawberries pop up here and there, dotting the green lawn with flecks of red.

This cornucopia of treats brings all sorts of wildlife to the doorstep. We’re constantly catching glimpses of bunnies dashing across the grass – something that made last night’s “hare” themed Iron Chef a little uncomfortable. (Honestly, who cooks rabbit with CARROTS? That’s just adding insult to injury.)

But the very best thing about the yard are the loads and loads of blackberries cascading over the fence.

They’re absolutely gorgeous. Big, fat, ripe blackberries just begging to be picked, tempting to weigh the vines down to the ground. Every time we go into the back yard we stop by the fence to snack on some, and the sheer volume of them guarantees there will be more for later. The boy and I were playing Frisbee onSaturday and we constantly took breaks to pop them into our mouths like kids in candy stores – our fingers stained bright pink.

Not wanting the berries to go to waste, we decided to try our hands at making jam (or preserves – is there even a difference?). I’d seen Jamie Oliver make it with strawberries, and it seemed simple enough. We bought a few jars and began the picking process. One for the jar, one for the mouth, one for the jar…

But tasting how perfectly sweet they were made me realize that adding sugar would only ruin them. As I was shaking the jar to squish them down and make room for more berries, they burst and turned into a beautiful thick syrup. That’s all I wanted. We ate it last night on vanilla ice cream. It was absolutely delicious. I’m going to try it on yogurt next.

This is just too easy. I think I can dig this whole get-your-food-from-your-back-yard thing. Though I suspect if I actually had to plant anything it might dampen my enthusiasm. Previous residents (and Mother Nature) did all the work here. I just lazily hang out on a blanket in the grass with the boy and the dog, reaping the benefits.

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Filed under Sight, Smell, Taste

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