Blueberries and Biscuits

LAURA-SURFACE - blueberry preserves

For the past four years, the children and I have made an annual pilgrimage to the blueberry fields to pick blueberries.  The heat of late Spring, air thick and heavy cut through with an occasional blessed breeze, and the lazy drone of buzzing bees greet us in the fields.  We know that our hour or two of labor will be well-rewarded in the meals ahead.  And if our energy and resolve wane (which it occasionally does), a handful of blueberries popped into our mouths always picks us up.

This year, with little time to research,  but needing respite from the tedium of unpacking our belongings, I searched the internet for a nearby blueberry U-pick.  I found one quickly, but it was hours away from our home.  Surely there had to be something closer.

One thing I’ve learned in all of our moving is that there is just as much to do in the rural areas as in the cities.  The only difference is that you have to work a bit harder to find it.  There just aren’t clearing houses of information on the internet that allow for “one stop shopping” so to speak.  The local newspaper, word of mouth, the occasional flyer in the grocery store window, these are still the main methods of communicating culture.  It works for the locals, not so much for the new kids on the block.

Undaunted and imagining a year without our homemade blueberry preserves and frozen morsels of goodness from the freezer, I persisted with my internet search.  I was going to find blueberries in central Louisiana, whether we got to pick them or not.  Playing with search terms, I finally found the magic combination that produced a Facebook page for Gulf Coast Blueberries near DeRidder.  I called the telephone number listed.  They were open.  They had blueberries available.  But no, it was not a U-pick.

Fearing that we would miss out on the Season’s bounty, I reserved multiple gallons of berries and scheduled a time to meet them at their “yellow barn”.  When the children and I arrived, the wind was blowing in anticipation of a passing shower.  The owners were friendly and encouraged the children to run out into the field, pick some berries and, of course, eat them on the spot.  As the shower came and went, we huddled under the shelter of the barn and chatted.  We made new friends.

So while we didn’t get to spend hours in the field this year, we did get to spend an enjoyable hour with wonderful people.  The children did get to eat berries straight from the field and we did get to make a year’s supply of blueberry preserves and stock our freezer for winter!  We also got to enjoy our bounty with an evening meal of blueberries and biscuits.

There’s No Place Like…

It took the whole truck!

It took the whole truck!

A lot has happened since my first (OK only) post.   We have officially moved!  We are indeed Living  in Louisiana!

So here is the recap of the past few months:

HOME.  We decided not to purchase a home this go round. The Boy’s new job will be a litany of early mornings and late evenings and even a FEW (hopefully only a few) weekends, so we needed a home conveniently located near his workplace, which limited our options considerably.  Moreover,  along with home ownership, comes responsibility.  Home maintenance and lawn maintenance…it’s a jungle here ya’ll…who’s going to have time for that?  The Boy?  Hardly.  So when a newly constructed home with lawn service in a kid-friendly community became available for lease within miles of the Boy’s work, our decision was easy.  (OK, it was easy-ish.)  We would be losing almost a thousand square feet and the school district…well let’s just say that it wasn’t exactly what we were accustomed to having.

Which leads us to decision number two.  SCHOOLS .   We decided after much research regarding our options that we would home school.  (HOME SCHOOL?!?  WHAT?!?)  Days and nights of researching curriculums, programs, and methods of education ensued. It was exhausting and revelatory.  We didn’t realize how many choices had to be made or how many opportunities existed.  Yet after much contemplation and a tad bit of flip-flopping we decided to use an umbrella program–one offering the oversight of a teacher/mentor, transcripts and report cards–with a classical curriculum.  Upon the recommendation of a friend and a very lengthy conversation with a knowledgeable representative who patiently answered all of my questions and addressed all of my concerns (well…those I could think of that day), we decided to enroll the children in the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy.

Preparing for the MOVE.  No matter how many times we’ve moved, each time is like our first time.  Despite our meticulous application of lessons we have learned from previous moves, something new always blindsides us and leaves us shaking our collective heads and wondering why we even bothered preparing.  Of course, despite it all, whether it be our worry and stress or the sound of breaking glass in the kitchen as our dishes are being packed, we all make it safely and virtually soundly to our next destination…all of us sans a few dishes, or all of our mirrors, or an antique globe reduced to pick-up-sticks!  This move was no different.  We down-sized furnishings, cleaned out our pantry, and donated clothes and toys and everything else we thought we could live with out.    We arranged early for transportation.  We signed the lease on our new house so we could move “door-to-door”.  Yep, we were prepared.  And then we spent four days trapped in a hotel room waiting on our furniture which was unexpectedly delayed because we misunderstood the meaning of the term “door-to-door”!

Saying GOODBYE.  This is the hardest part.  It never gets any easier.   Indeed, it seems to get harder.  Although, FaceBook and telephones and emails keep us connected, the loss of daily interaction with great friends that we’ve bonded with is a tough blow.  I feel this for me.  My children feel it too.  We all had our tearful moments as we let go of our old roles and disengaged from our old community (Well…maybe not the Boy…’cause he’s a boy.)   It was sad driving down our street for the LAST time.  SIGH.

That’s about it in a nutshell.  Two months condensed to a few hundred words.   And now, the boxes await, so I have to sign off.