Monday, May 27, 2013

Berry Deliciousness! And Our Unexpectedly Wild Weekend.

What a weekend!  Saturday morning John and I got up early and headed out to a berry farm to pick some beautiful fresh berries for jam and ice cream making.  We were there at 8am in the cool of the day and the berries were abundant.  Walking up and down the rows and rows of berries looking for just the most plump ones, we picked about 9 lbs of berries.  4+ of the Olallieberry, shown above and 4+ of the Young Berry shown below.  We were having a great time, remembering our raspberry patch in our garden in Mendocino and the great blackberries we use to pick at the river.  Suddenly John commented that he had a huge "floater" in his eye.  In 2011 he was misdiagnosed at the VA and consequently lost the site in his left eye, so we are hyper alert.  It seemed to pass as quickly as it came, so we thought we would wait for a bit.

We came home and set the berries aside as we were having company that afternoon.  I whipped up a quick batch of Olallieberry ice cream and tucked it into the freezer.

  A return missionary and his new bride came for a visit, we had such a nice time with them, pizza and applekrisp with homemade caramel sauce...yum!  Eric and Shelby Schenk from Logan, Utah.

We love Eric like he was one of our own sons and his wife is just a delight.  They make a wonderful couple.

Early to bed, we were tired from the day and planning many activities for our long weekend together.  At 5am John woke me to tell me he was losing the site in his right eye, we had to go to the emergency room right now.  Dead asleep, trying to grasp the gravity of what he is telling me.  I have to drive, get up and get dressed, grab your keys, lets go!  And we are out the door, flying down the road to Mather AFB.  We are there by 6:30 and by 9am they have a specialist from U.C. Davis looking at him.  Yes, there is a retinal tear.  Yes you will have to have emergency surgery.  So we are whisked off to U.D. Davis to meet up with Dr. Hunter and get this repaired.  3 hours later, surgery is finished, there were 4 tears in the retina.  We now have to make our way home very slowly, we cannot start up the hill for another 5 hours and then must spent 30 minutes at each 1000 feet of altitude, making sure there is no pain in the eye.  We are both exhausted, John must sit up as he sleeps to keep the gas bubble in his eye where the doctor wants it to help things heal properly.  So, we stop at my office, I put him in a dental chair and let him get a few hours rest.  Then we continued on up the hill.  Back up at 5am to go back down to U.C. Davis to meet Dr. Hunter for a post op check this morning.  Things are looking good, bandages off and John's vision is still 20/20.  Keeping fingers crossed and saying our prayers.  We will not know until next week if they were able to mend the tears.  Back in the car, back to the house, stopping at 1000 ft for 30 minutes to let things adjust.  Finally home and we both fell asleep for most of the day.  

I made some lovely homemade chicken soup for lunch, with big egg noodles and carrot ribbons.  You have to have chicken soup when you don't feel good.

Got the kitchen cleaned up and looked at all the berries, I have to do something with them and I don't want to just chuck them in the freezer.  Jam time!  So the Young Berries...which are Boysenberries were looking like they needed to go first.  I love a bubbling cauldron of berries, nothing smells like it.

Recipe:  8 cups berries crushed
1 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp butter
1 pkg pectin
7 cups sugar

mix the berries, lemon, butter and pectin in a large pot, bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly, add sugar all at once, bring back to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute at sea level, 2 minutes at 1000-3000 ft., skim foam, ladle into jars, wiping the rims with a damp clean cloth and seal, invert on a towel for 10 minutes, turn back over right sides up and let set until completely cooled.  Lids should be sealed, if not, store in fridge and use first.

And the fruits of my labor...5 pints of jam!  And a 1/2 pint in the fridge for breakfast!

Okay, on to the next batch of berries!


  1. Oh my gosh! I'm so glad John's vision seems to be intact. How scary for him. And exhausting. The jam looks lovely, too.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment! He is doing much better, we will know more next Monday.

  2. I do trust all goes well for your husband. A very scry time for you both.

    1. Mammafairy, He is recovering well, eye site has returned and we will go for another post op in a month, but it's looking good right now, no pun intended! Thank you for your kind thoughts!