Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

For those who’ve read Whimsical Words since the beginning, you know I have blueberry bushes. For those readers just stopping by for the first time, I’ve written several times about my blueberry bushes, picking berries, and the birds and other creatures who gobble up much of the fruit.

I’ve thought about draping the bushes with bird netting, but it seems to me it would make picking difficult for the people, too. A huge cage built around the bushes would be a solution, but the expense and the fact that my berry bushes are on a hill make a cage impractical.

A cat would help, butI no longer have the beloved orange and white cat who made sure birds stayed away. And my husband who doesn’t want another cat.

So, what to do?

A few weeks ago, when we were returning home after a walk, we saw a black snake crawl across our driveway and climb up into one of the blueberry bushes. He/she must have stayed close to the blueberries for several days, because the birds kept away. But my snake-disliking husband also stayed away from the berries.

Alas, the feathered berry-raiders are back in full force. I spotted this article on a natural way to scare birds away using dollar store items. Maybe this will work – if it doesn’t scare away friends and family!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Dear friend, Anne, is a marvelous cook and the source for many of my favorite recipes. I have an abundance of blueberries this year on my blueberry bushes. Anne made the most marvelous cake for a family Fourth of July picnic using blueberries and a lemon cake mix. I share it here today with you. Like my last recipe Brookies, Blueberry Citrus Cake works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Blueberry Citrus Cake

Ingredients:

1 package 2-layer-size lemon cake mix

½ cup orange juice

½ cup water

1/3 cup cooking oil

3 eggs

1-½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel (1 large)

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (2 lemons)

1 recipe Citrus Frosting (recipe below)

Directions:

1- Preheat oven to 350°.

2- Grease-and lightly flour two 8×1 ½ inch or 9xl ½ inch round baking pans; set aside. (Try coating the fresh blueberries with some of the dry cake mix to keep the berries from settling to the bottom of the pans.)

3- In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, orange juice, water, oil, and eggs. Then, beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes.

4- With a wooden spoon gently fold in blueberries, orange peel, and lemon peel. Pour batter into prepared pans.

5- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

6- Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then, remove cakes from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.

7- Frost with Citrus Frosting (recipe below).

Citrus Frosting

Ingredients:

3-ounce package of cream cheese

1/4-cup softened butter

3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons orange juice

1 cup whipping cream

1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel

1/2 Tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel

Orange peel curls and additional blueberries for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

1- In a medium bowl beat together one 3-ounce package softened cream cheese and ¼ cup softened butter until fluffy.

2- Add 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Beat until combined.

3- In a small bowl beat 1 cup whipping cream to soft peaks; add to cream cheese mixture.

4- Add 1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel, and ½ Tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel. Beat on low until combined.

5- Frost cake. Garnish with orange peel curls and fresh blueberries, if desired.

Notes:

Store frosted cake in the refrigerator. Serves 12. 

Read Full Post »

 The blueberry bushes in the front of my house are producing their usual abundant berries, but I’m not getting many to freeze. What’s going on here?

In the past, the animals and I have had an understanding. No one gets greedy and everyone enjoys the blueberries. The cardinals, mockingbirds, Northern Orioles, robins and assorted other birds gobble their share of the sweet blue-purple globes from the bushes. A chipmunk or two scurry about grabbing a bit of fruit for their lunch. Three large crows gather many of the fallen berries for their meals. The ants clean up the rest of the ground berries, and the bees take care of those still clinging to the bushes that are torn open and oozing juice.

I still have plenty of blueberries to pick and enjoy fresh, and there are lots left to gather and freeze. In fact, I usually invite friends over to pick a bucket of berries in the relative coolness of a July evening. But not this year. This year, the other critter in the mix — the squirrels, have gotten greedy.

The squirrels have taken to breaking off entire bunches and carrying them to their nests. Thus, they’re not just picking a few, but stripping the bushes so no one else (yes, this is personification at its strangest) gets their fair share.

Balance is what’s needed here. Just like in a painting or a quilt or a flower garden, balance is necessary. Colors, textures, shapes and sizes need to be distributed in an even-handed manner.

In the case of writing, a story needs to be balanced, too. Too much description and the storyline gets lost. Too much action and the characters get confusing. Too much back story and the reader loses interest. Too many characters and the reader can’t keep the cast straight. Just the right mix of action, description, plot, character, foreshadowing, flashbacks, and location are need. The important thing is to balance the amount of each of these pieces of the story-quilt.

Now, back to those thieving squirrels. What is my course of action? This year, I’m afraid it’s a losing battle. The out of whack distribution of blueberries caused by the squirrels’ greed has destroyed the balance. Next year, all but humans, bees, and ants will suffer. I’ll drape the bushes with bird net, and only uncover them when picking berries.

The animals will not starve. There are wild raspberries and blackberries in the nearby woods. Many of the trees by our lawn are wild cherries. There are abundant acorns and pine cones, too. The grasses in the field next door provide seeds for the birds, and there are insects galore for the eating.

Lack of balance in fiction, poetry, painting, or quilt or garden design results in a finished product that is far from perfect. And in the case of writing — probably not publishable. So chase away your greedy squirrels, and remember: Balance is important in life whether sharing blueberries or planting a herb garden or drafting a novel.

Read Full Post »