My Mom grew up with her parents and siblings on their farm. As is typical of farming families, when the children reached adulthood they each had the opportunity to own pieces of land from their parent's original farm. This was the case with my mother, as well. Except for a few years after she and Dad were married, she has spent her entire life living on the same road. I think that's pretty special and I sure love to go back to the land that is in our hearts, and which holds so many memories for all of us (aunts, uncles, cousins).
Mom and Dad's property is on both sides of the quiet, country road. On the other side of the road from the house is a wild blueberry patch. Dad keeps trails mowed and each year they add more rambling paths around the many blueberry bushes, most of which are very big and tall and are never ever sprayed or tinkered with. The whole patch is a beautiful and organic place, with a variety of native trees mixed in...all perfectly wild and unplanned, with only small, simple improvements (mowing, adding benches here and there, a circle of rocks for a fire pit, etc). There are wild raspberries, flowers. Birds singing everywhere, insects humming. Just as lovely as can be.
Typically, as we chat on the phone in the early springtime, the topic of the blueberries comes up. I hear reports on how good or bad my parents speculate this year's crop will be. The early frost or the lack of rain were sure to effect the crop. Then, one day in July, "I picked enough for muffins!" to the next: "Dad and I are picking berries every night! The bushes are loaded!" Likewise, the freezer gets loaded... with bags of little purple treasures, to be added to pies, muffins, pancakes, or eaten as is.
It's no surprise, then, that my mom was most thrilled that I would get to pick some blueberries for my family when I went out to visit this past weekend.
In fact, it was one of the first things we did after I arrived. Even Sarah did a little picking. I do love to pick, it's like second nature....bending the branches down to reach the top berries, or stepping half inside a bush to reach the ones in the middle. After years of experience, my fingers and wrists know how to move in order to pick the berries and let the twigs and leaves drop away to the ground. We only want berries in the box, no rubbish! An interesting thing is that the berries on each bush have a different taste and texture. Some are sweeter and plumper than others, and they can be different shades of purple (I always liked picking the bushes with the very darkest berries).
My brother (how I love him!) was up to see us, too. So, we all walked together; Dad and Mom, me and Dave, and lil' Sarah Joy.
After we picked for a while, we walked in the woods and into the big field across from the old barn. I had Dave take a couple pictures for me.
I made blueberry pancakes this morning for the children. Mom's recipe. With the berries we picked from the patch. I know that my aunts and cousins and sisters have been picking there lately, too. It's fun to think of us all using these same berries, grown in the same wind and sun and land that we did as children.
1 egg, beaten with a fork
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix all together and add flour to the consistency that you desire for thinner or thicker pancakes.
This morning I used whole wheat flour to make them healthier and more filling.
As they sizzle on one side, sprinkle on those beautiful berries (can be frozen or fresh). Flip to cook other side, serve with butter and maple syrup.
Any leftovers get eaten like cookies later, for snacks. Save one for the hens, and one for the dog. They love pancakes, too.