The Zen of Raspberry Picking

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Picking raspberries with friends at Butlers Orchard http://www.butlersorchard.com in Maryland was one of the most relaxing and peaceful days I had enjoyed in a while. The weather could not have been more perfect with a slight breeze and temperatures in the 70’s.  Raspberries became secondary to the overall experience of the day.

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Each of us grabbed our containers and set off on a row of our own. Tranquility settled in around me as I searched for the masses of red berries among the brambles.

Picking raspberries is a slower process than picking strawberries or blueberries. Gleaning raspberries bit by bit takes time due to the obstacle of the brambles. As I plant my feet in the earth about a foot apart, I squat bringing myself closer to the fruit. I find this position less straining on my back and knees. I thoughtfully work my way through the thorny bushes looking for the ripened fruit. I find success. I begin to realize that the field was fresh and had not been seen by others that day based on the amount of berries available for the taking.

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Truth be told I am not a huge fan of berries or raspberries for that matter. I don’t care to eat them fresh but will enjoy them in baked goods, cooking and jams. However, I do find great satisfaction in the harvest. Maybe it is being outside and listening to the quiet breeze as it carries the sounds of the chirping birds around me. Perhaps it is the act of searching for food that is ready for the picking. Perchance it is the mere act of feeling grateful for the moment that I am experiencing. All the same, however I got there and where ever it takes me, this day I found zen in the harvest.

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Dutch Oven Raspberry Scones

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2 cups of flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large egg

1/2 heaping cup of frozen raspberries

Glaze:

1cup of powder sugar

1 tablespoon of orange juice

Mix together powder sugar and orange juice and set aside.

In a bowl add flour, sugar, soda, salt and powder and mix together.  Grate the cold butter using the large holes of a box crater. Dip the butter into the flour while grating to keep the butter from clumping together. (see top picture above).

Mix together egg and sour cream.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Add berries. Fold ingredients until it clumps together.  Place dough into the dutch oven and press dough out until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut into wedges. Put lid on Dutch oven.

Heat coals in a charcoal chimney.  When coals are ready place You 16 coals on the top and 10 coals on the bottom. Cook for about 22 minutes. If you are cooking in the oven bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes.

Pour glaze on warm scones and enjoy.

Wishes Alone Can’t Make My Garden Grow!

Garden fairy

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I have participated in the ritual of preparing and planting a vegtable garden for 25 years.  Each year I am met with many challenges while gardening, leaving me with minimal results. I ask myself, “Why do I continue to put so much time, energy and money into gardening”? My father always had a successful and productive garden and his parents had one too. I want to be a part of this legacy as well.  Perhaps that is why I persevere, to attain the green thumb that seems to run freely through my family which I have yet to achieve. This year I have decided to take a new approach to my gardening by identifying what prevents me from finding success, then tackling those challenges one by one.

Virginia, where I live, is not blessed with the best soil for growing crops, unless it happens to be Tobacco. Yes, those school text books were right.  The red clay soil is everywhere and a challenge to work with. How on earth the settlers lived on this land is a real mystery to me.

Challenge number one:

#1 Dirt

How to create a rich soil environment to produce the best possible results.

When I have managed to grow anything in my garden, more often than not, it has been enjoyed by wild animals and not my family.

Challenge number two:

 #2 Fox

How to keep the fruits of my labor for myself.

The dog days of summer can reach well past the 100 degree mark in Virginia, making it a problem to keep the soil evenly moist.

The heat stirs up my third challenge:

#3 Flower

How to keep my garden evenly watered, even when I am not around.

I live in the suburbs on a quarter acre lot covered with shade. I am limited by space and the amount of sun my land receives.

My fourth and final challenge:

#4 House

How to create a garden with limited space and  a lack of solar energy.

As I review my challenges I realize that I need to make an adequate plan to create a viable and productive garden. Making plans are important but sticking to them are optional.  Flexibility is always key. Learning is essential.

I have spent much of my life hoping or wishing for things, like a beautiful and productive garden.  Wishing and hoping is only a small thought that moves me forward toward my goals. Bridging the gap of a wish or a dream, to see the fruits of ones labor, takes planning and perseverance even not knowing if the outcome will reflect what we are hoping for. To choose to journey forward toward our dream we must take time to ponder and plan and then implement our thoughts and ideas.

Boots

What in your life  have been dreaming about?  Is it time to take that wish or dream and make it a reality?  Give yourself time to hear what your heart is trying to say to you. Write down the steps it will take to bridge that dream and make it a reality.  Remember there is no right or wrong answers. Listen. Your heart won’t quiet until you hear what it is trying to say.  You will never know if the outcome will reflect that of your vision if you don’t get started. It does not matter if it does not match your vision perfectly. Be flexible.  By moving forward guided by your intuition each step you take becomes part of your journey down a path to a place you are suppose to be.

About Me

Beth

Beth

Full of spirit and imagination, I am setting off on a journey to explore and discover the great outdoors. As a mother of two, I have spent many years nurturing my children’s exploration of the world, it is now my turn to quench my curiosities that call to me and lead me forward. Living in a metropolitan area all of my life has made it difficult to truly nurture this desire. I have decided bringing more of natural world into my everyday life a goal of mine. With limited time and natural resources it will take work to put this Mother back in Nature, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

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