Today was a fabulous sunny side day! Think “It’s a Beautiful Morning” by the Rascals. Classic Carolina blue sky with the occasional wisp of a cloud…gentle breeze and best of all, LOW humidity. Just a roll down your window, wind in your face kind of day. Folks at the office were more pleasant and smiles came more easily. Even the dogs in the neighborhood had an extra spring in their steps. I know it’s been miserably hot in lots of places around the country, so I can only hope that you had a day like this too. We so needed this reprieve. Tonight it’s dinner on the porch, soaking in the cool evening, looking for fireflies, and breathing deeply because by Friday morning, it’s going to be gone.
On my way to work this morning, I saw a car stopped by the side of the road. A woman was walking towards a section of tall, scruffy weeds with a small plastic bucket in her hand. I had to smile; I know exactly what she was doing. My husband and I do the same thing. She was stopping to pick wild blackberries.
Late June to early July is the time to be on alert for a roadside harvest. I’ve seen folks on the side of an interstate highway, backsides of all sizes and shapes towards the traffic, focused on picking the sweet, dark berries. You can find them in overgrown areas next to railroad tracks, woods around a business or, lucky me, in the neighborhood where I live. I’ve been watching them grow for several weeks, making a pass by the different patches as I walk.
It helps to know what you are looking for and you have to pay attention to timing,because the birds may beat you to them. Wild blackberries are usually smaller, but when they ripen, they are just as sweet. Four cups is all you need for the blackberry cobbler recipe below, easily gathered in 2 16-ounce plastic cups. It’s possible you’ll end up looking like you’ve been in a cat fight, but it’s worth the sacrifice. Really, there is just nothing better than homemade blackberry cobbler. Wash them gently, dry and freeze them and this winter when it’s cold and gray outside you can reclaim the taste of a sweet summer roadside harvest.
Easy Blackberry Cobbler
Preheat oven to 375. Place 4 cups of blackberries in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice. Stir together 1 large egg, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup all-purpose flour in a medium bowl until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over the fruit. Drizzle 6 Tbsp. of melted butter over the topping. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. Makes 6 servings.
(Southern Living, July 2008)
I live in North Carolina. It’s an absolutely beautiful state. We have mountains – the Great Smokies – rolling hills of the Piedmont – and a great coastline, including the Outer Banks. If you have not had the pleasure of visiting, you must put it on your to-do list.
One of our state’s gifts to the locals as well as visitors is the Wildflower Program. From spring through fall, medians around the state brighten the roadways with color from plantings of flowers and grasses. Even local municipalities participate by adding their own flowers and bushes in strategic places.
I took this picture a week or so ago. It’s a local and state interchange I travel through frequently and on this particular morning, the yellow daylilies were in full and glorious bloom, covering both sides of the highway and the median.
Perhaps you have something equally as beautiful in your area. Look around. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the visual feast and carry it with you as you travel.
This is what I call a happy median!
Welcome to The Sunny Side, the beginning of a collection of the little, often unappreciated experiences that bring joy to everyday living!
My husband often tells me to focus. His definition? Pay attention (mostly me) when someone else is sharing something (mostly him). He, often in exasperation, will tell me to “smell the roses” (I run around like a headless chicken most of the time). I cannot say I have made much improvement in the focus area, but I have been paying much more attention to the world around me. And that has led me to start this blog.
The name is taken directly from a favorite old song, Keep on the Sunny Side, written in 1899 by Ada Blenkhorn and recorded by the Carter family in 1928. It was introduced to a new generation of listeners in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The original lyrics are below and you can enjoy many performed versions on youtube.
There’s a dark and a troubled side of life;
There’s a bright and a sunny side, too;
Tho’ we meet with the darkness and strife,
The sunny side we also may view.
Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life;
It will help us ev’ry day, it will brighten all the way,
If we keep on the sunny side of life.
Tho’ the storm in its fury break today,
Crushing hopes that we cherished so dear,
Storm and cloud will in time pass away,
The sun again will shine bright and clear.
Let us greet with a song of hope each day,
Tho’ the moments be cloudy or fair;
Let us trust in our Savior alway,
Who keepeth everyone in His care.
(thanks to Wikipedia)
Who knows what odd, weird, memorable “something” will we see or hear this week? I don’t know, but I’m paying attention! Are you?