Next to our building there is a single detached house which has a lovely, lush garden. A couple in their 60s live there and until a couple of days ago I had never had a conversation with either of them – our interaction had been limited to a passing greeting. However, two days ago I happened to run into the woman outside and she very generously invited me to come over and pick some red currants from her garden: “There’s such a lot and I hate to see them go to waste.”
See, late summer here in Iceland is all about berries. They grow wild, and they grow in people’s gardens. The wild ones are mostly limited to two [or three] varieties – two types of blueberries, and crowberries. Indeed, one of the main outdoor recreation activities enjoyed by families around this time is going to a “berjamó” – literally translated “a berry field” – with hot coffee or chocolate in a thermos, packed sandwiches, and lots of containers for picking berries.
It’s one of my favourite seasonal activities – but alas, this year I haven’t had the opportunity to go when the weather has been nice, and when I’ve had the opportunity it has been raining. You see, I have a secret location that only a few people know about … and no, I’m not tellin’ where it is. It’s such a delight to spend an hour or two picking wild blueberries, and then taking them home and eating with skyr, or fruit salad, or even preserving them as jelly or concentrated juice.
Anyway, thanks to my neighbour, I won’t have to go without my seasonal berries this year even if I don’t make it out to a berjamó. EPI and I went over there this afternoon and I was AMAZED to see not just the ubiquitous red currants but also black currants AND huckleberries gooseberries, which I understand are fairly rare in Niceland. The first two varieties were weighing down the bushes in heavy clusters, especially the red ones, and even after we’d picked and picked, it seemed we’d barely made a dent.
Behold, the spoils from our raid:
Apparently when you make jams and preserves you should include the leaves and stems, which act as a natural gelatine. Guess who’s got her work cut out this weekend!
BERRIES ALSO MEAN A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER
Weatherman sez we’re in for our first autumn storm tonight, which will be exciting. Bolt down your trash bins, that sort of thing. It’s also getting dark a lot sooner now, which means cuddling inside with candles lit. It’s been pouring down rain for most of the day, though with occasional dry spells, and we now have11°C [52F]. The sun came up at 5:59 am and set at 8:56 pm.