Anticipation. Disappointment. Excitement. Patience. All of these emotions, plus a few more, characterize my experience in the garden. I have several flower gardens surrounding my house along with a vegetable garden and "berry patch". It's the berry patch that has me feeling DISAPPOINTED. This year, four years into having planted strawberries, the plants have multiplied enough that there is finally a decent amount of plants to supply at least a pint or more of strawberries. In any case, enough for any pie, cobbler or crisp recipe of my choice. Earlier in May, the flowers, like the one pictured below, crowded each plant with at least six to seven cheery faces. With ANTICIPATION I imagined the plants later weighed down by the heavier fruit and my mind wandered; thinking about which recipe of mine would be made better by homegrown strawberries.
After a month or so of PATIENCE; waiting for the weather conditions to provide for beautifully red, ripened fruit, I now find that I am not the only one who has been awaiting the taste of these berries. With the first strawberry that I saw so close to being pick-worthy, I decided to give it another day. Apparently, in my haste...something else decided to make quick waste of that first berry. Unfortunately, that has been the pattern we have followed for the last week or so. As the berries ripen, and I give them just one more day; something else: bunny, squirrel or mouse? takes advantage of my hesitation. Not wanting to pick only partially ripened fruit has kept me from claiming what is rightfully mine, while the less choosy mammal is rewarded on a nightly basis.
Berry by berry, the pie in my mind, gets smaller and smaller. The EXCITEMENT that once guided my visions of home-baked goodness has waned. At this point, I feel I can only plan ahead for next year. The word STRATEGY comes to mind. I will need it as I wage a berry-sized war against the little varmints that choose to squash my strawberry dreams.
In the meantime, I will look to the farmer's markets and Sweet Berry Farm, to supply me with locally grown strawberries. And as for MY berry patch....the raspberry bushes look promising!