For the Love of Strawberries

Thursday afternoon when my neighbor stopped by to see if I wanted to go strawberry picking on Friday morning, I was delighted.  Not only was my mom coming for the weekend, but we were going to school for a Flag Day celebration.  Then I had plans for us all to go to a Violet Festival on Saturday, complete with a town-wide yard sale and parade.  Now strawberry picking!  My weekend was shaping up to be perfect.

I was fueled by sunshine and energized by excitement on Friday, until we got to the strawberry farm. The elderly woman behind the counter assured us there were NO strawberries.  Apparently a late frost killed them all and they were waiting for a second batch.  This kind old woman underestimated the determination of two women and a preschooler with strawberries in their eyes.  Finally she conceded to let us check.

I am happy to report that we each filled a box to overflowing.  We canvassed serious territory, plucking berries and exchanging stories.  Others came and quickly left, claiming there were no berries in this patch; however, I realized that if you want something badly enough, you work to get it no matter the obstacles.

Apparently I wanted strawberries enough to get …

Poison Ivy?

Poison Oak?

An allergic reaction?

I only know it’s ITCHY.

The kind of itch that makes you want to tear the flesh from your bone, because pain would momentarily relieve the itch.  Currently it is up and down both arms, my hands and my lower legs.  Unfortunately it’s still spreading, so by tomorrow afternoon, I should be ready for a padded room.  I am certain this itch will make me lose my mind.

I’ve tried, Calamine lotion, Benadryl Lotion, Cortisone Lotion, and a baking soda/vinegar paste.  Believe it or not, the paste worked the best.  Any other suggestions are welcome.

In spite of the itches, we managed to make strawberry jam on Friday night.  I know I’ve revived my inner Martha, but my domestic skills exploded in flurry of action that almost frightens me.  I mean, I started my day in the strawberry fields and ended it by canning the fruit of my labor.

What is next?

I fear I’ll be grinding wheat, or worse, cleaning the closets!

Is there no limit to my domestic prowess?

With helpers like these, the answer is resounding NO!

Notice the frightened look on my mother’s face?

She gets like that when I suggest we cook something.  I think she’s afraid to work in the same kitchen with me.  For the record, she was completely in charge of the jam, because she has experience and I couldn’t even read the recipe correctly.  My mom did have a moment of doubt as I dragged her around looking for canning jars, but I convinced her that I needed this jam.  I want strawberries to mix with butter-cream icing in November/December/January, and after contracting this hellish rash, I was going to preserve every last strawberry if it took me all night.

So we chopped and cooked and canned.  I’m here to tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds.  You boil empty jars, fill them, and then boil them again.  It’s germ warfare!

But we lived to tell the tale.

And I’ll have strawberries this winter.  Next up, blueberries.  I think I’ll just buy them from the Amish fruit stand though.  My luck, I’ll still have this wretched rash by blueberry season.

Did you ever go picking?

uh, strawberries, I mean…not your nose

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24 thoughts on “For the Love of Strawberries

  1. Pingback: On Rotten Raspberries and Summer Fun « the domestic fringe

  2. Pingback: Walking in the Rain | the domestic fringe

  3. Julie McGoldrick

    Wow, that looks amazing! (The strawberry jam- not the rash. It’s pretty amazing, too, but in a horrible way. Sorry you are so itchy.) Will you post your jam recipe?

    Reply
  4. Sara

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better. So, was it worth the rash? I took my oldest out with me strawberry picking when I was about eight months pregnant with my youngest. We actually had a blast! I made him stay in his stroller as we scoured the fields for berries and it worked pretty well. No jamming, though. I’m not that domesticated! 🙂 Props o you for doing it!! You might become a pioneer woman yet!

    Reply
  5. Cathy

    Your jars of jam look so beautiful. Did you know you can also make freezer jam and it’s supposed to be really easy. I wouldn’t know though cause I don’t make stuff like that. Cause I definitely am no Martha Stewart. But my mom always did and so does my sister and it’s really, really good. I hope your rash goes away really fast! That looks and sounds so miserable.

    Reply
  6. robinaltman

    That is obviously strawberiform vorciferous armitis. It requires a lot of strawberry jam smeared on soft french bread ASAP.

    I don’t have a lot to add to Carole’s advice! Oral meds are much more effective. You want to squash your body’s histominic (allergic) response. Creams are okay for comfort. Benadryl before bed is awesome (50mg and it’s over the counter) but check if it’s okay to take with your allergy medication. I’m sorry, Babe! Hope your itchy limbs feel better soon!

    Reply
  7. DJ

    FG, please don’t scare us like that again…sheesh. I was worried, kid.
    I agree with the readers who said it did NOT look like poison ivy/oak.
    It DID kinda look like sun poisoning on your fair skin. And yes, I’ve had it all. 🙂
    What cop show always said, “Let’s be careful out there…” ?
    Hill Street Blues?
    Well, let’s do that, ya hear?

    Reply
  8. Carol Adams

    Wonderful!~! So glad to hear that the rash is subsiding now…

    Whew… I feel better already!

    Yes, I’m sure that the allergy meds are helping

    You look like you are fair skinned in the photos… It’s great, isn’t it?

    Take care and thanks for the update!!!

    Reply
  9. the domestic fringe Post author

    I’m ALIVE! Just wanted to let you all know and thank you for your concern. My mother did try and talk me into going to the doctors, but these things always happen on weekends. Anyway, the rash is subsiding. REALLY. It’s still there, but definitely not as bad. I think it will work itself out of my system. I am on medication for my allergies, so that’s probably helping. I’ll live to see blueberry season. 😉
    -FringeGirl

    Reply
  10. Carol Adams

    Gabriela- was feeling/thinking the same thing…once one has a reaction as widespread as her’s is then it can become systemic meaning the whole body is affected.
    I didn’t want to be an alarmist but if you were my patient in the hosp. ( worked ICU/CICU for 30 yrs) then a doc would definitely give you some IV steroids etc. Since you aren’t in the hosp then it will probably just be pills…might even need a “teeny tiny” shot. I have seen patients rashes like this after an allergic reaction to, let’s say, a new med we have just introduced. The fact that it is so widespread on your bod is also cause for concern…all four extrememties… if it were just a little patch on one arm etc… that would be different…
    Not trying to alarm you, just concerned!! I have dermatological issues myself…ie: when I get too much sun exposure I get what used to be call “sun poisoning” which actually goes along with my Lupus… My rashes have been very similar to the one you posted and they itch like crazy!!! Since adulthood I have always required oral steroids/prednisone to settle the reaction down.
    I hope all is well… PLEASE let me know how you are doing, dear!!! Hugs!!!

    Reply
  11. Gabriela

    I’m no medical expert but that looks like an allergic reaction. You need to seek medical attention pronto. My husband had that same reaction when eating kiwi and it swelled his tongue to three times it’s normal thickness and threatened to close his throat. His face, neck and chest were also inflamed in addition to arms and legs. I rushed him to the hospital and they gave him pills and an injection. He was having trouble breathing just as we got to the ER. It looks like you need some antihistamine pills.

    Reply
  12. Debbie York

    From the looks of it, my money is on poison ivy. I’m with Carol…don’t fool around…get into a doctor’s office PDQ. My son is extremely allergic and ends up having to get a steroid shot to clear his up.
    On a happier note…mmm…strawberry jam….sunshine in a jar!
    Debbie

    Reply
  13. Carol Adams

    Darlin’ girl… That does not look like Poison Ivy, Oak or one of it’s cousins.. It really doesn’t matter what caused it as your body is having an allergic reaction to something. You just need to get it stopped.
    As an RN (of 30+ yrs.) I am telling you that you need to probably go to a med check or ER and get on some Prednisone(oral) ASAP!!! They will probably give you a Medrol dose pack which you take over 5 days, I believe. This should take care of it and is very low risk.
    This is a pretty severe allergic reaction you are having!! Don’t feel that you have to tuff it out. The OTC (over the counter) topical creams just won’t work very well. It isn’t worth itching all night and losing sleep! The topicals are for a small area and this just isn’t as you can attest!! If it is still spreading you really need to see someone…I cannot stress this enough!
    My daughter broke out in hives last summer and the pharmacist suggested Zyrtec and it did help for a time.
    I LOVE strawberries and have made freezer jelly before. Our strawberries here in IN are so much tastier than the ones we get in the groc from California! Yours look much like the one’s we have here! Beautiful.
    BTW your mom’s expression is priceless! God Love Her!!
    I will be looking forward to getting an email from you telling me that you DID get medical attention!
    Hugs to you!!! Take care of yourself!

    Reply
  14. Jill

    We picked blueberries with the in-laws once. I kept wondering if they’d ever heard of buying them from the fruit stand or the produce section. But my mil makes a wonderful strawberry freezer jam. I have no idea how the process works, but I would probably come close to killing for a taste of that stuff.

    Sorry about the rash! Hope it heals quickly. If nothing else is working, I would probably try taking something that would make me unconscious until it goes away. : )

    Reply
  15. Debra

    Yup, I do some strawberry pickin’. I make freezer jam though I have made the cooked stuff too. Yummy. 🙂
    I am so sorry you got into some poison ivy or oak, that is nasty. I got it once a long time ago and I remember witch hazel worked really well. I don’t know if you can still get it in the drugstore or not. Also dump some epsom salts in a bath and have a soak. Hope something works!

    Reply
  16. LeAnn

    I love strawberries too and once when I was a teenager ate way too many and got hives, but just that one time. Your mom’s facial expression cracks me up. She looks really worried. Again, thanks for making me laugh.

    xo
    LeAnn

    Reply
  17. Charming's Mama

    My Grandma lived in Oregon and would go out into the forest and pick wild blackberries and made the most amazing blackberry jelly. Nothing was better on her fresh baked bread. We used to go with her if they were in season when we visited. I think we ate more than we brought home. She stopped when she encountered a bear enjoying the berries she was picking, well actually she still went on occasion but took her 22 with her.

    Reply

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