Some people like glittery bars and high heeled shoes on their birthdays. I seem to be making a tradition out of getting as dirty as possible when mine comes around. Last year, beach grilling, and marshmallows in my hair. This year, a horrible dash for a train to Connecticut (all thanks to Matt for not killing me right there in Grand Central as I decided to weep instead of sensibly making the last minute dash for tickets as the train waited patiently), was followed by an idyllic day with Carrie and Nick in East Haddam and related environs.
Not only did we get to explore a ridiculous un-castle, built by the man who pioneered Sherlock Holmes on the stage and used phrases such as 'blithering sapheads' in his will, but we got to follow that with an immediate dash to a steamy sweaty bit of swampy ground, where we fulfilled the summer desires of my heart picking wineberries.
Matt took a short break from picking to photograph me wrestling with a big sticky patch.
Yes, we checked diligently for ticks afterward, and look, we sprayed!
Carrie and Nick, generous souls they are, let us take home more than our fair share of our mediocre bounty.
As soon as we had lived through the long train ride home, I put all the berries in a pot, heated and juiced them, and the next day mixed them with a little pectin to make jelly. Three jars.
I'm still a nervous canner, and the jars sealed but then grew cloudy, and I definitely put in too much pectin, as the jelly was stiff, but it is definitely good. Luckily, another one of my birthday presents was a gift certificate to The Brooklyn Kitchen. Maybe I'll take a canning class. Thank you infinitely, Carrie, Nick, and Matt, for such a wonderful birthday.