Yesterday was all about strawberries.  I wanted to make jam, and although we live in a rural area, have no place within twenty-five miles that sells local strawberries.  I knew they normally sell them twenty-five miles away, so we got in the car and were on the hunt for them.  We found a farm that used to produce Troyer Farm Potato Chips, but stopped maybe ten or fifteen years ago, and now, they use a portion of their property for strawberries…..Unfortunately, the sign said “U-Pick,” which Rich was completely opposed to….I asked him to drive up to the building and ask if they had any already picked that we could buy and they had just run out, (darn it!) so the only option was to pick our own.  Oh, and we followed a detour that took us ten miles out of our way, only to figure out that we missed the “real” detour, and had to double back….so there was no way we were going to drive around to find another strawberry farm.  We got out of the car, and the workers explained the picking system (little did I know there’s a system that involves flags…you start where the flag is and take the flag with you, then plant it where you stop, so they know exactly what parts of the fields have been picked.) Let’s just say the flag system is genius, and within ten minutes…count them, ten minutes, Rich had picked four quarts of strawberries.  I originally was helping, but the way their fields are set up, they mound the strawberry plants and then there’s a small trench on either side..The trench is filled with hay, so you can’t see any uneven areas, so it was hard for me to navigate.  Rich was worried I’d fall, so sent me back to the car…(and frankly, it was much faster going without me slowing him down.)

We went out to dinner and as soon as we got home, I made two batches of jam.  I make freezer jam that should be perfect every time, but somehow, this time, it didn’t seem to get thick….I read online that if it doesn’t get thick in two weeks, I should take it out and put it in a pot and boil it to thicken it.  I really followed the directions, so am not sure exactly what I did wrong…and when both batches didn’t firm up….not sure what the problem was.  I know if you buy old pectin, it won’t work, but I just bought mine, and I used a timer for boiling time and stirring time, and tried to be completely accurate with my measurements, but still, runny jam…Darn it….

Today we met our close friends at a local spot that is unique to our area.  It’s called the Spillway at Pymatuning Lake.  This video says it all.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsfRt55_qM8  It’s a spot in a large lake where you are allowed to feed bread to Canadian Geese and Carp.  Carp are large fish that look like really ugly Koi fish….there seem to be a million of them, and feeding them is a lot of fun, as they all shove each other out of the way for bread, and they are BIG..It’s kind of gross to watch, but you can’t take your eyes off of them.. You need to watch the video, as my words don’t do this justice.  Any way, our friends and Rich are from a larger city, Youngstown, Ohio.  They’d never seen anything like it, and when Rich and I were in college, I took him there for the first time and he was mesmerized.  This is the second time we’ve taken our friends there, and they love watching the display like we do.

Our friends brought a lunch and we brought a lunch, so we social distanced food, and then we both brought desserts that could be eaten without touching each others food.  Of course, I brought a big bag of kettle chips, because what’s lunch without chips?  And then I realized I forgot to bring bread to feed the fish. How dumb was that?  There used to be a shed that sold bread about a mile from the fish, but our friends drove in that way and said it wasn’t open….so no bread…bummer.  We brought subs, and I didn’t eat half of mine so we’d have a little bread to feed them, and that was enough to make us all happy.  We got a big laugh out of an entire loaf (in the bag) of bread that fell into the lake..The carp were trying really hard to open the bag, but sadly, the bag won and the carp were still working at getting inside when we left.  It was a nice day and great to see friends during social distancing.

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