High: 72° F
Low: 54° F
I'm not going to lie: it's been a hard-fought summer here in Maine. So hard fought, in fact, that it hasn't seemed much like summer at all. At least, not until late this week. On Thursday, the clouds broke--as if by magic--and the rain abated. Mainers--including those who pride themselves on their staid Yankee reserve--were positively ebullient. Total strangers stopped one another in parking lots and famers markets, just for the sake of celebrating the return of the sun and all those things normally associated with a New England July.
Here at caninaturalist central, those things included a return to our annual agricultural inquiry as well. The subject of our study this week? Fragaria ananassa, or the domestic strawberry. Picking them is big business in our house, where we freeze enough to serve as our main fruit source for the year. We were frankly worried about the effects of the omnipresent rain and cold over the last six weeks. And, in truth, it did delay the season and limit overall yields. Nevertheless, this morning we returned with two full flats of our favorite variety, known in the strawberry world as "sparkle."
Something as simple as a smallish berry is enough to make us giddy this year. So much so that our resident pest, Mouse, couldn't even wait for the berries to be hulled before diving in. Taking the idea of "pick your own" a little too literally, she tried to eat the entire box of berries as soon as they arrived (and by "box" we really do mean BOX):
At the ripe age of three, Ari has learned a certain restraint where culinary matters are concerned. And she's developed a seriously discerning palate at that. As we cleaned and bagged and froze and jammed and canned, she remained aloof, watching the process with the removed interest of a well-worn foodie. It wasn't, in fact, until our last batch of jam was complete and fully set that she was willing to imbibe.