Set my alarm for 8 a.m. this morning (I know, right!?!) so we could go pick sweet cherries before the forecast 90˚/90% humidity hit.
When the alarm went off I sputtered “yeah, right,” turned it off, and went back to sleep for an hour. When I woke up at 9 I realized why that was so easy to do; a) we stayed up til 1 a.m. watching My Cousin Vinny (loved it! “Yeah, you blend.” Ha!), and b) the sky was darker at 9 a.m. than it had been at 9 p.m.
Thunder, lightening, wind, rain, for about 7 minutes, and then ebbed away. All smoke no fire, so to speak.
By about 9:30 the weather looked promising, and the weather.com radar map indicated that the weather would be clear until at least 12:30, so off Daughter and I went.
We drove 20 minutes through beautiful, lush countryside, hills and valleys and quaint barns with fences and horses grazing and a beautiful stone home with a pillared porch and vibrant flower baskets. (sigh)*
There it was ahead, with a hand-painted sign, B_______________ Orchard’s (why the apostrophe? why?). We pulled into a tiny little parking lot, gazed with bewilderment at a set of porch steps I wouldn’t trust not to collapse under the weight of a small house cat, encountered a youngish scruffy man talking on a cell phone and carrying a vacuum cleaner (?), and went into the barn where a woman who might have been older than God was talking to her sister on her cell phone. Not quite Deliverance, and not even remotely as bizarre as our experience buying grapes to make wine a couple of years ago, but still.
Two buckets, a short walk down a dirt road, and two very slimy mud puddle encounters later, we found the cherry trees. The cherries came off by the handful. I suggested to Daughter that she might want to pick several buckets and set up a stand at the bottom of our driveway, selling them for half what those suckers at the grocery store are paying for imported (from Washington) cherries, and maybe earning enough to pay for college (ha!). She speculated whether it would be money better spent at Justice (?) and on iTunes, but I disagree, considering that the money she spends on iTunes is JustinBieberSelenaGomezKatyPerrycrap. We filled two buckets, ~ seven pounds, in about 20 minutes. Which was a good thing, because around minute 21 the sky started to glower, clouds chased each other across the sky in interesting folded formations, (not unlike the ceiling at Severance Hall, which is pretty in a concert hall and quite intimidating in a cloud), thunder rumbled, the trees started to dance in the wind.
Daughter: “Mom! Look at those clouds!”
Me: “Wow! Let’s get the heck out of Dodge!”
We walked, muddily, back, paid, and headed towards the car as it began to sprinkle. By the time we reached the end of the (very short) driveway it was pouring.
The cherries are delicious. I’m trying to decide if we just want to eat them all or if I should make Cherry Cordial.
Poke 3 c. of sweet cherries with a fork and put them into a quart jar. Cover just over the top of the cherries with brandy. Cover and let sit for one month. Strain liquid from cherries, add another cup of brandy and 1/2 c. sugar.
Poke 3 c. of sweet cherries with a fork and put them into a quart jar. Add 1/2 c. sugar, then fill jar with brandy. Cover and let sit for one month, shaking gently every week or so to distribute the sugar. Strain liquid from cherries after a month.
Store in a bottle with a screw top or a cork-lined stopper.
*I’ve given up on the hanging baskets. Bought these at World Market yesterday instead. They’re made of glass, so I can’t possibly kill them, although I could break them.