Today was the annual strawberry festival in these parts. The exact date changes from year to year, though always in late May or early June, whenever strawberries are at the peak of ripeness– much like the actual viewing of cherry blossoms in DC a month or two earlier. Usually, signs go up near the beginning of May, along roads and by churches and banks, announcing the impending festival, which always takes place in the parking lots and fields of a local Montessori school. One field has a collection of moonbounces for the kids, while another nearby field is managed by a Boy Scout troop that directs parking.
The upper parking lot gets filled with booths and tables of local craftspeople, businesses, and other organizations. One lady this year was selling tatted jewelery, including a nice collection with bat charms which I, naturally, had to spend money on. Likewise Tastefully Simple and Pampered Chef people, of which Okassan took advantage. There was a nearby Episcopalian church represented and there, down at the end, a group of young men with a table of pamphlets proclaiming that “Islam is Loyalty” or some such thing.
We didn’t really wander down that way because, quite frankly, Snape and I have a bit of an allergy to Islam– I tend to sneeze alot, and she breaks out in hives, the poor dear. And, to be honest, they stuck out because there were no females among them– and lets face it, a strawberry festival is a rather feminine place, where one expects to see hordes of grannies, moms, and little girls, husbands and sons pulled along with patient (or not so patient) faces. Not really the place for a pack of young fellas (at least, a pack not dressed up in Scout uniforms)– not without even a single Mom or Sister among them.
The backwards American Flag on one of their displays may also have something to do with our reluctance to drift much closer. Maybe. Either way, both of us are quite happy with our current relationship with The Lord (though we’ll admit, it’s often the two of us being whiney brats that He, in His Mercy, has thus far refrained from smiting out of sheer irritation). They could have been from the local group of Muslims who got kicked out of Pakistan for being to pacifist. Or, they could have been from another, sorta (as far as we can tell) moderate-ish mosque or, they could have been representatives from the Islamic Society of Washington, D.C. Don’t know and, with them lacking any ladies, not really interested.
And before you get all PC, one word: Taqqiya.
After browsing the stalls, down we went to the lower parking lot, where the truck of strawberries had pulled in and a line was forming to purchase strawberries by the full or half flat. While waiting, Snape got into a conversation with a lady behind us on pie dough– and how to change the recipie to account for the recent change in how they make shortening. Really, so typical. We ended up with two flats, which was 16 pounds of strawberries at the peak of ripeness and freshness. 16 of these:
Then it was time to head home, routed through residential streets filled with yard sales– I found a rather nice oil lamp, and one jar to add to my canning collection. When we came home, we got right to work, hulling and slicing strawberries, and the rhubarb we’d gotten recently from the CSA, and made two Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies and one Strawberry-Rhubarb tart, of which one pie was baked, one frozen for later, and the tart baked and eaten for lunch. The crust was a Snape family recipie, made by her last night. Sooo good!
We then froze most of the rest of the rhubarb and strawberries (save for what we used the the Rhubarb-Peach Cobbler currently in the oven), though we did set aside one pound of strawberries to make these:
Which are, as most wizarding folk know, a perfect antidote to Dementor or Lethifold exposure (well, after your Patronus has chased the beasties off, of course). No, no Dementors or Lethifolds around here, just a couple of decadent Slytherins.
Weekend after next, we’ll likely be using some of the frozen berries and rhubarb to make Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam. Can’t wait!