I couldn’t resist sharing my heirloom radish ala Barbara Kingsolver with you. They have been really mild and tasty lately. We each ate one right out of the garden.

After reading Tina’s post yesterday about her visit to Brown’s Berry Patch and all the strawberries her family picked I started thinking, “Yeah, I should do that!”. I’ve been buying strawberries along when they are on sale around $1 a quart and freezing them to put in Grace and my yogurt in the mornings.

Here I thought I was being all healthy with us eating yogurt every morning until one day I finally looked at the list of ingredients on the back of my Yoplait Lite Strawberry yogurt:

Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, *Aspartame Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness, Natural F Lavork, Red #40

As if high fructose corn syrup isn’t enough they have to add in Aspartame and Red #40 and who the heck has ANY idea what Natural F Lavork is. I Googled it. Google doesn’t know either. So now we are eating Dannon Natural Vanilla Yogurt. It has this in it: Cultured Grade A Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Pectin plus active cultures. We’ve been stirring in frozen strawberries, blueberries and blackberries that I nuke for 30 seconds which makes our yogurt all nice an pink naturally. I add granola on top. Grace likes hers without.

So YOGURT is only one food choice that we have finally wrestled down to a healthy option. The problem is trying to do that with EVERYTHING that goes in our mouths or bodies.

Now, at best we are schizophrenic and hypocritical with our eating and food choices. Okay, so I’m mostly speaking for me but I’m the one who picks the menu, buys the food, mostly prepares the food and serves it up. Bryon is an EXCELLENT cook and likes to cook fancy and elaborate meals which works out GREAT because it turns out I like to EAT fancy and elaborate meals as is evidenced by my growing girth.

We ARE trying to eat healthier and make better and more conscience food choices. I actually CHOSE to eat a salad at a restaurant for lunch one day last week. That was the first time in 41 years THAT had happened and yes it had lettuce in it. Turns out field greens are pretty good. Iceberg is not. Bryon and Mom say this has always been the case but I’m skeptical and pretty sure this is just a recent development.

The problem is old habits are hard, hard, hard to break and somethings just taste so good and are so addictive I just don’t know if I can overcome them (ie ALL chocolate deserts and brownies particularly). I keep telling myself the point is I’m trying and the changes I have made are better than continuing full speed down the path I was on before. Some days are just no good though. You win some, you lose some.

Grace has unfortunately inherited my sweet tooth. That girl loves her some candy. All candy. Thank God it’s finally all gone from Easter. She’s already planning ahead for her birthday and Halloween.

I figure every time I eat a salad instead of a quarter pounder, I’m just that much closer to perfection. Whatever that is.

I bought seeds for three kinds of red lettuce from Bakers this spring and we’ve been eating all three from our garden. I like the really red heirloom Lollo Rosa best. It’s red all over and frilly. I bought some Buttercrunch lettuce but I haven’t planted it yet. It will be next.

Back to the strawberries though. I was just getting ready to see if there was a closer berry patch than Browns (Mt. Vernon) when Cara in our Sunday School class announced that Debbie had a ton of them for sale at her house in Marshfield. We went over right after church and lunch at Freda’s and I bought 15 pounds! They were $1.50 a pound and traveled exactly 15 miles to my house. Grace loves REALLY HUGE strawberries. These were NOT really huge strawberries. She’s been used to eating the giant, waxy half-ripe California berries. I just won’t buy those Mexican berries anymore. I told her these were better because these were Missouri berries. I picked out the largest ones and saved two bowls of them for her while she was outside playing. She loved them. She said they were sweet and juicy (her words). She was right.

These weren’t the FIRST Missouri berries we have had though. The other night after work she had been playing outside and finally came in to play. She’d been in her room about 15 minutes when she came springing out telling me we had to go outside NOW. “Why?” I asked. “Because I have to show you something,” she said. “What?” I asked. “I’ll show you!” she said. “WHAT?” I asked???? I was not going outside on a wild goose chase (unless of course we get a wild goose next week at the swap meet and it needs chasing). Finally she told me there was a ripe strawberry out there. I was wondering how she could see that from her window but she finally told me she and Daddy had spied it the night before and were leaving it to ripen one more day. Well we ALL know how fraught with danger THAT idea is. Did we learn nothing from last year?

We went trekking out to the weed (I mean strawberry) patch and sure enough there it was. The first precious strawberry of the season. It is like red gold because there won’t likely be many more. The strawberry patch has succumbed to grass and clover but a few hardy plants have struggled on and we’ll probably end up with a couple dozen berries before it’s all said and done. I’ve actually been picking big handfuls of the clover for the hens. They LOVE it and fight over it now that they are a captive audience in their little chicken yard. So in a way the strawberry patch is still fruitful. Once they have spent themselves I’m going to transplant the plants to the new bed and then we are going to cover the old patch and kill everything out of it so we can start over.

That first strawberry was just swell. Grace and I both took a bite and left the last bite for Daddy who was at the school board meeting until late. He got home after nine pm and after Grace had gone to bed but he got her out of bed to share the last little morsel with her. The strawberry was actually hanging like a shiny red beacon outside the fence before she picked it. I can’t believe a turtle didn’t get it yet but somehow it snuck up on me and I missed it. I’m glad the rest of the gang was keeping an eye out. You KNOW how I hate missing that first berry!

So today, we got berries from Debbie. Not our own but about as local as you can get otherwise. It took over an hour to get them all stemmed and frozen.

It was a big job but I have nine quart size ziplocks full of berries in the freezer now. I have a half bag of blueberries from the farmers market last year still left but we finished off all the blackberries last week. Thankfully we’ll have more soon and I plan to stock up again.

Thank goodness the farmer’s markets are going and the garden is growing.

This year I plan to can LOTS more peaches too. We finished up the last jar of peaches in March. Freestone though this time, not Cling. Fool me once…


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