Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Just a Bowl of Cherries

We have become friends with a new family, people we met at the park through a mutual friend. New Friend has a cherry tree, and invited us over to pick sour cherries. (Here's a really cool thing: My favorite cookbook says that sour cherries simply aren't available, except in Michigan, the Pacific Northwest, and pockets of New England. I am so lucky.) Lovely Lady the Elder gamely climbed a ladder and risked getting poked in the eye by a stick or falling off a ladder to help pick cherries. Not only that, but she accompanied us on what was really a playday for the gents without complaining once. She's a good egg.

I love cherries. Cherry trees are beautiful, and fresh-off-the-tree cherries are fabulous. I promised my kids a cherry pie, and we picked a rather large bucket of cherries. I glowed when I brought them home, revelling in my bounty.

Until I had to pit them. All of them. Is there a job more tedious than pitting cherries? I took them out into the back yard and pitted for what seemed like hours.

Tuesday Ten: Yesterday's Ten Random Thoughts While Pitting Cherries

1. "Life is just a bowl of cherries...."
You know me by now. Might as well get the song out of the way right from the start. Not a bad message, though. Leave it to me to turn an earworm into a life-affirming message, right? But seriously....

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don't take it serious; life's so mysterious.


The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you've never owned?


Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.

I don't need to add another word.

2. "Thank you, bunny, I'd love help." (Thinking: "GAH!!")
The fine young gents are fascinated by the cherry pitter. We have one cherry pitter. The Mom dilemma: Do I chirp "Sure you can help, sweetheart!" and grit my teeth as the helper sloooooooowly pits the cherries and drops them in the grass and feeds them to the dog? Or do I say no and crush any hopes of raising helpful young gents?

3. Someone needs to weed the garden.
I've had that thought several times the past couple weeks. It works really well. Try it and see how fast the garden gets weeded. Heh.

Once the weather finally warmed up, the garden took off, and so did the weeds. Problem was, we took off too--to the park, to the pool, to visit friends. We just haven't been home, and while I'd kept up with the worst of the garden bed weeding, by this week there was a veritable carpet of dandelions and grass and mallow and those ones with the funny flat leaves between the boxes. So I'm sitting in the yard endlessly pitting cherries, looking at the weedy garden, thinking "Someone needs to weed the garden." The problem is that once it gets that bad, it seems like an overwhelming job, so I avoid tackling it. That works really well too.

Today I weeded the garden, by the way. It was cool and sprinkling for much of the day, perfect for garden work. I thought about taking a picture of the weed pile and posting that too, but I didn't want to run in for the camera. Not really. That's a lie. I run in for the camera to take pictures of my feet, and the weed pile is sure a lot more interesting than my long toe. But there's such a thing as keeping it too real. I don't want to destroy my, er,...your fantasies of me as a gardener extraordinaire.

As a matter of fact, let's just pretend I haven't said a word about those weeds. My garden is immaculate. No, really. My house too, while we're at it.

4. Whose idea was it to pick so many %$&*^$%& cherries?

5. Cherry pie? Cherry cobbler? Cherry pie? Cherry cobbler?
Loving husband makes the pie crust in this family. Loving husband was in California, and refused to come home to make pie crust. Even though I said I was making fresh cherry pie, and cherries are only in season this time of year. So I was stuck pondering the dilemma: Make a pie, or take the easy way out? Ooooo. Or what about cherry crumble? Crumble topping is even easier than biscuits for cobbler. What to do?

6. Praise.
Sitting in the back yard on a warm summer afternoon while the kids play in the sprinkler, after a lovely morning of swim lessons and visiting with friends.....life is good. My heart was full. We live a blessed life in this wonderful world. I was content.

7. Well, sort of, because my next thought was.....

8. Whose idea was it to pick so many %$&*^$%& cherries?

9. I wonder if I should try drying these?
I did and they were fabulous.

10. This had better be worth it.
It was. We have canned pie filling for fine young pie-loving gent's November birthday pie, ate a spinach and pine nut salad with dried cherries for dinner this evening, and stored a small jar of dried cherries in the pantry.

As you can see, I made a pie. It was lovely, a beautiful pie. I made a beautiful pie. (Don't tell loving husband, or he'll expect me to make my own pie crust all the time.) I carved little cherry-shaped steam vents in the top, and they actually looked like cherries--with the little leaf at the top of the stem, even--after the pie was baked. We ate cherry pie with lunch today, and it was perfect.

Mmmmmmmm...............cherry pie. Warm cherry pie. Warm cherry pie with just a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Gotta go.

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