The Rooster stands in the shadows of the garage, waving and smiling, but giving us a look that says, “Here you guys go, leaving me again.”
The kids and I wave, blow kisses and holler out the rolled-down windows, “Bye Sweetie! Bye Dad!! See you in a week! We love you!” And with that, we turn our packed car down the driveway and settle in for the nine-hour drive south.
Now, I know I’ve mentioned before how the chickens and I make an annual summer road trip down to the California Redwoods where we spend almost a week camping (well, there is a little cabin there but we’re in tents…so camping it is) with my dear friend, Polly, and her merry band of kiddos. It’s really a Mom-only thing. The Rooster came one year and well…..too many Moms but every year when we leave him we get the same sad look.
When we arrive at our destination on the Eel River, the kids, begrudgingly, help me unload and then proceed to set-up camp which includes rolling out tarp, pounding in stakes, raising the tent, blowing-up air mattresses, rolling out sleeping bags, hauling in suitcases, unloading coolers, organizing dry goods, taking bikes off the rack and finally, cleaning the garbage out of the car. I wish I could say they were like a dutiful troop of Boy Scouts but alas, it’s not to be. So, after much
threatening cajoling, our camp is set and we can relax. For a little while, that is.
The mornings are spent drinking coffee and talking with Polly, but before too long it’s time to make lunches for the river which involves making sandwiches, cutting up fruit, packing dry goods, filling water bottles and ensuring we have wine…for later, of course.
We head down the trail loaded down with bags, coolers, inner tubes, lifejackets, towels, chairs, sunscreen, books and magazines. The children always get their first. As soon as we unload and sit down, they never fail to let us know they’re hungry. So, we unpack the lunch, pour the drinks, spray on sunscreen, monitor the non-swimmers in the water, put mud on pincher bug bites, help shake sand off towels, get snacks, retrieve flip-flops and before too long decide it’s happy hour.
In the evening, there’s the preparing of dinner and cleaning up of dinner. There’s a bonfire to be lit and S’mores to be roasted. There are dance parties to be had and night swimming to check off. Now that we have teenagers, well, there’s also nighttime shenanigans that continue well past midnight. Shenanigans such as TPing the boys tent. TPing the girls tent. Upping the stakes and “Padding” the boys tent. (Yes, that’s “Pad” as in Kotex.) Retaliating by egging the girls tent. And on and on until 2:30am. And with most of us in tents and no way to block out the sounds what can you do but laugh when you hear one of the girls holler out, “Hold your fire!!”
The youngest ones have us up by 8am and the day begins again. Another day spent with my dear friend whose company I cherish.
Before too long it’s time to break down camp, load up the car and pack-away enough childhood summer memories with which to paint a Norman Rockwell painting. The kids declare, just as they do every year,”We love the river! We can’t wait until next summer.” I pump myself up on caffeine and point the car north.
We arrive home to a Dad with a little extra sparkle in his eye. No trace of the sadness he displayed upon our departure.
When asked what he did with himself while we were gone, he talks about watching each leg of “The Tour” (as in Tour de France) over and over again uninterrupted. Long bike rides out Skyline Road. And leisurely trips to the Farmers Market where he bought blueberries. Flats and flats of blueberries. He seems well-rested and calm.
It’s then that I have to wonder exactly how sad he is when we leave and perhaps I could try that out: a week, alone, in the house just to see how sad I would be. Purely for experimental purposes, of course.
I also wonder what we’re going to do with all of the blueberries…but, I do love that my man’s the kind of guy that brings ‘em home. xo
And what, my friends, would you do with flats of blueberries?
Thank you for reading….
|Blueberry Crumble Muffins|| |
- CRUMBLE TOPPING
- ½ c light brown sugar
- ⅓ c flour
- 1½ tsp grated lemon zest
- ¼ c old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1½ c all-purpose flour OR ¾ c all-purpose flour & ¾ c whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ c sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ c milk
- ½ c butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1½ c blueberries
- 1 tbsp flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line your muffin tin with the paper liners. If NOT using paper muffin liners, grease your muffin cups with butter. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, toss your blueberries with 1 tbsp of flour and set aside.
- For the crumble topping, mix together your brown sugar, flour, lemon zest and oats in a bowl. Add your butter (I like to do this with my fingers) until it is evenly-distributed. Set aside.
- To make your muffin batter, stir together your flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a little well in the center. Pour in your milk, butter and egg and mix until it is just combined. Carefully, fold in your blueberries.
- Spoon the batter into your muffin cups, filling only ¾ high. Top each one with up to 1 tablespoon of crumble mix.
- Bake your muffins on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. They should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes. Then, remove from tin and serve warm. (Although my family is not picky and will eat them at whatever temperature they happen to be when they are walking through the kitchen and grab one....or two.)
I was down at the AM Northwest studio on Wednesday, grilling up salmon. If you aren’t big on skinning fish…which I definitely am not…I love grilling fish the way in the video because you just leave the skin behind on the grill. That is until later when you’re cleaning up and you simply scoop it up and toss it. Unless you want to munch on the crunchy, salty skin which you might….perhaps, perhaps not.
AM Northwest has a new fangled video sharing features and it won’t let me put the actual video on my site like I used to so if you are interested, just click on the above link and it will take you to the actual site.