Berry Picking Days

Berry Picking Days… and Foggy Days

Berry Picking Days… and Foggy Days

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 2
Week 35: September 3, 2022

huckleberry picking day

After a day’s picking, I used a cup of fresh huckleberries to bake a sourdough batard with fresh lemon verbena leaves from the garden.

We are filling pots, colanders, and buckets – berry picking days are here! We dashed up the mountain for a second day of huckleberry picking. Blackberries are ready and requiring every-other-day picking. Sweet Amarylla tomatillos are ripening to a sunny yellow; they taste so good! And we are relieved that the tomatoes are turning color at last.

To make berry picking less painful, Samuel thoughtfully pruned the tangle of wild and tame blackberries back that grow on the fence between the vegetable garden and the sheep pasture.

We are relieved the tomatoes are ripening at last. The two tomatoes pictured above are at the top of our list of favorites: Japanese Black Trifele (believed to be from Russia) is a burgundy/black tomato and Japanese Plum, a raspberry pink fruited variety. Both are good for canning/drying.

morning coffee and tea in the garden teepee

Morning coffee and tea in the garden teepee, with Toby the Magnificent. We love our new Gabrielle K Pottery mugs!

Before the main push of harvest in the garden, Samuel whisked me away to 🌊Crescent City, California for a welcome few days vacation to celebrate my birthday.

Foggy Days

Lady Bird Johnson Grove

In 1969 President Nixon dedicated this grove to former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, in honor of her conservation and environmental work. The dedication plaque for Lady Bird Johnson Grove can be seen about half a mile down the trail. Only 5% of the world’s old-growth redwood forest remain – and nearly half of that (40,000 acres) is in Redwood National and State Parks. (Thank you Johnnie Kyzer for this info!)

We encountered thick fog at the 🌲🌲Redwood National Forest and at first I felt disappointed. I really wanted sunshine and blue skies for our trip! 🌤

Then I felt God impress on my heart that fog is from Him. It is His protection at times.

We don’t need to see the future, He holds the future and He holds us.

I love to plan. I make lists and love to check them off and meet my goals.

But right now He is not showing me very far ahead on the path. Instead, He is bringing me along one day at a time, fibromyalgia brain fog and all.

I hope I am learning to trust Him more fully during the foggy days, whether the fog is in the sky or in my brain.

This massive Redwood tree is scarred by fire, yet lives.

Fern Canyon collage

Incredible botanical riches including 7 varieties of ferns growing up sheer canyon walls await sightseers at 🌿Fern Canyon. Plank paths through water, and matchless picnic spots make navigating the twisty, dusty road to get there worthwhile. Not handicap accessible.

ship in harbor

Little things and big things that stood out near the motel we stayed in: child-like fun of making our own waffles for breakfast, sand-covered sidewalks edged in a profusion of roses, and an incredible variety of seafood at Crescent Seafood Co, a local favorite and well kept secret. Dine in their comfortable dining room, take food back to your room, and/or purchase fresh seafood to take home. The food is amazing!!  Fishing boat was raised out of water for maintenance and repairs.

A visit to Rumiano Cheese Store was in order. You can watch the cheesemakers at work and stock up on gourmet organic cheese! The Cheese Store offers fresh, locally made sourdough bread, 1 pound loaf for $11. This makes me appreciate my homemade bread! (And truly wonder what a loaf of my Huckleberry Lemon Verbena Sourdough bread [pictured in the huckleberry picking collage photo] might be worth!)

school yard garden

Peek over the fence at a 20-bed school garden at Crescent City Elementary. 

Sylvia’s Attic is a true gem in Crescent City, California. 💎 Sylvia and her late husband owned a prosperous commercial interior design company in San Francisco for 25 years. Now she sells used books, tea cups, baskets, and unique furniture.

On the way home we “had” to stop at Taylor’s Sausage Country Store for a bowl of their iconic Sweet Italian Sausage Soup and sweet potato fires. Mmmm!

Sam and I do know one thing: we are blessed. The budget might be tight and getting tighter, but we have each other and we have plenty of experience economizing. Sam wishes he could take me on a big vacation to a luxury destination, like Hawaii, or that we could drive or fly to the Midwest to visit family.

I am grateful we were able to take 3 days off and visit the Redwoods and walk 👣 barefoot together on the beach! Having a hand to hold is a priceless treasure. We have many friends who are alone, due to death or divorce, and we choose to savor the time together, even if, or especially, during the so-called mundane stuff of life: meals, daily chores, homestead projects, all of it. Every day is a gift.

Thinking of all our single friends today and sending you love.

Michele and Samuel


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