Shriveled on the Vine

We tasted the first strawberries of the season today. It’s a sacred day in my family.  Eleven years ago we planted our tiny little berry patch in our average city yard. Some years it has produced so many berries that I don’t mind sharing with the bunnies and the birds. It’s been a great return on investment. Picking the berries requires a lot of bending over but otherwise, there is very little work involved. We always have enough berries. We eat until we are sick, make some jam, and share the rest with neighbors. It’s not rare for the weather to turn hot and dry by the end of strawberry season. By that point, we are tired of picking berries and don’t mind when the vines wither and the berries shrivel. Today, I discovered that half the patch is already dried up. I am hoping that some rain will perk things up. In ten years of growing strawberries, we have never experienced weather this hot and dry so early in the season. I am sure it’s an omen from the berry fairies to warn us of terrible things to come.  I was able to pick enough berries to make a heaping strawberry shortcake.  I’ll deal with the berry crisis when it happens.  Until then, let them eat cake.