Monday, August 11, 2014

Black and blue and dog poo too!

We got back yesterday from two and a half weeks in the US, a very good summer vacation with lots of activity and good memory-making up and down New England.  In the coming days I'll try to post some pictures of all of the fun times.
This weekend has been kind of tricky on the internal time clock front, as we tried to adjust to being back on BST.  Interestingly, the UK still is on British Summer Time even though the air has a distinctly autumn feel to it - some of the chestnut trees are starting to turn brown, and the afternoon air had that nip in it that makes you feel that the summer is fading fast. Let's hope it's just an adjustment from New England heat that is making me feel that way.
Today we all slept til noon, which does not bode well for anyone getting to bed at a decent time tonight in advance of a Monday morning wake-up call for everyone.  After several hours of laziness, we went to the local park, where the eagle-eyed Noah spied some wild blackberries in the greenery near the entrance.  His eyes were recently tuned to this sight from a few days ago, when we went blueberry picking in New Hampshire with Lela and LT and the kids. 


There were a few small blackberry patches in the midst of all these blueberries, and the boys enjoyed adding them to the collection. 

After some time on the swings today, we came home to get our Tupperware to go back to do some collecting, and the boys did a really amazing job at picking those suckers!  I remembered the time (described here) when I took Blake down in his stroller while I picked, and he slept.  This time the boys seemingly could have gone on finding berries forever.  As it happens, that possibility became quickly unrealistic as I kept smelling dog poo, and upon further inspection we realized that Blake had stepped in some.  A surefire way to end a wild berry picking expedition!  He then saw that he had some on his shirt (as if having it on your shoe is not gross enough!) so off came his shirt; and then of course, Noah wanted his off too.  So there I am herding two shirtless kids toward the car, when Blake decides he wants to go and get a few more blackberries from the original bramble we started at.  Would you freaking believe that he then stepped in *another* pile of dog shit!?  We finally got to the car with him wearing his shorts and one Croc.  That's how we roll in our urban idyll. 

They wanted to make jam when they got home, which Matt valiantly did, only to realize, after he had put everything in refrigerator to set that in spite of boiling the jars to sterilize them, heating a bowl in the oven to keep that part sterile, and all these other things that you might be prone to skip, he'd forgotten to boil the blackberries for 8 minutes, apparently a crucial step for the pectin to be released from the fruit and for the jam to set.  "Don't worry," I cheerily said, "there are more blackberries and we can always go back!"  Next time, if there is one, I will be on high alert for any signs that other animals had been there before us. 

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