Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The importance of blueberries

Yesterday the children and I were reading, for the hundredth time, Little Cottontail. It's the story of a bunny who wants to be all grown up, but his mother says he must first learn many lessons. Among them:  how to wash himself, how to find food winter and summer, and how to avoid being caught by a fox.

We have often talked about that fox. Ask what he would do if he catches Little Cottontail, and ViMae says, "Chomp." We talk about children learning to watch for cars, to be careful when climbing, to listen when grownups warn them that something is dangerous.

We also talk about balance in nature. If the fox gets Little Cottontail, that's good for the fox, bad for the rabbit. If the rabbit eats the farmer's lettuce and carrots, good for the rabbit and bad for the farmer. ViMae once picked up a forkful of omelet and declared, "Good for me, bad for the egg."

Yesterday when we read that Little Cottontail's mother taught him to raid the farmer's vegetables and fruits, I made a comment, something like, "The farmer won't like it if the rabbits eat all his lettuce. We won't like it either, because we get our vegetables and fruit from the farmer."

Augie suddenly buried his head against me and wailed something about rabbits eating his blueberries. I thought he was joking, but then I realized he was crying real tears. I finally got it out of him: "I don't want the bunnies to eat all my blueberries." And then he was sobbing again.

I explained that the bunnies would never eat all the blueberries. I said bunnies don't even like blueberries. I said farmers have fences and other things to protect their crops. This boy who cheers for the bunny hero in a dozen different stories would pause for a moment and then cry again. "What if the bunnies eat all my blueberries!"

Here's the thing I didn't tell him. Blueberries are out of season, and they are getting very, very expensive. I still buy them because this boy loves them so, and because I have loved them ever since I was a child picking quarts of them alongside my family in the woods around our cabin. More recently I learned that blueberries are high in antioxidants, and they've even been called "brain food." That's an investment I'm willing to make.

In the summer when they are plentiful, we eat them by the handful with every meal. As they get more expensive we share a few with our oatmeal in the morning. But in the coldest months, when blueberries get to be $5 for a few ounces, I usually don't buy them.

Until now, that is. I may cut back on something else, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be buying blueberries on a regular basis.

25 comments:

Kitty Moore said...

I love blueberries too - and you are a wonderful grandma!

Thank you so much for all your kind words on my blog - they mean a lot to me.

The Broad said...

All of which reminds me -- I've got blueberries in the fridge for making muffins! Better get on and do it!

Jeanie said...

It is worth a little more to get him something he likes so much that is also good for him. You are a very good grandma. I love the lessons you have taught them about how nature works.

DJan said...

That's a good story! I have frozen blueberries in the freezer and take some out and put them on things in the middle of winter. Makes me very happy.

BTW, those bananas are perfect for me. When they get spots, that's when I will eat them! :-)

Ms Sparrow said...

I have never found blueberries very flavorful. It's maybe a taste-bud thing as I know lots of people who love them. I make blueberry pie for guests but would never bother buying blueberries for myself. Bless you for buying the fresh blueberries for your little guy!

Grandmother said...

Bless his sensitive little heart. Your approach is good- the balance of what's good for one might be bad for another and vice versa. But his spirit might be leading him in a whole different direction- sensitivity for the underdog blueberries, in this case.

Abby said...

Blueberries have been a popular subject at home recently, too. Every time he poops, I say, "Hey, did you have blueberries at Pa and Grandma's today?" and then the whole family comes in to investigate. ;)

Ellen said...

You are an awesome grandmother! I've never acquired a taste for blueberries, but blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries, I'm there with mouth wide open. Take care.

Linda Myers said...

What a great story!

Where I live we have two blueberry bushes in our garden, but blackberries grow as weeds here. It always amazes me to see them in the grocery stores for $5 a pint. We pick and freeze gallons for free.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are going to have to pick lots in the summer and freeze them for the winter! It sounds like Augie loves the blueberries, good to hear that they are "brain food." :)

Leah Rubin said...

That's so beautiful! Augie is a smart and sensitive boy, and that makes him a winner in my book. I love blueberries, too, and this time of year I start buying the frozen ones. Not like fresh, but beats going without!

Reading that story to the kids as you do is giving them wonderful messages. What a great grandma you are!

MAFW said...

Maybe next summer you can buy them in bulk and freeze a few.

troutbirder said...

Great true to life story. I hope and few in season were the real wild blueberries as opposed to the pumped up hybridized tasteless ones available in most supermarkets. Now there's the next lesson. :)

Retired English Teacher said...

That is so cute. I guess we never realize how connected these little ones are to what we read to them.

Blueberries are expensive. I freeze them in the summer. They aren't as good, but I can at least enjoy them a bit in the winter that way.

CherylK said...

ViMae is a very clever child! You are so good to keep buying blueberries! I get them from my sister-in-law at Meadow Farm Foods in Fergus Falls and I freeze them on cookie sheets and then put them in freezer bags. Wish I could get some of them to you!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Buy frozen when out of season. Buy tons when in season - and freeze.

I love blueberries. Blueberry crisp, blueberry smoothie, blueberry by the handful.

WhisperingWriter said...

I'm a big fan of blueberries as well. So good.

Jeanie said...

This post very nearly brings a tear to my eye, certainly a lump to the throat. How dear he is, how sweet and how hard it is to love something so much you fear it may be taken from you, even by mysterious bunnies is stores!

I, too, love blueberries. I buy tons in the summer when they are inexpensive and plentiful, freeze them on a cookie sheet and put them in tupperware tubs so I can enjoy the almost-fresh berries in my muffins and bread and cereal year round. But when I forget to thaw them out -- yes, I'll grit my teeth and curse the berry people who have a wee half-pint for nearly five dollars. Then I put them in my cart.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Nancy! Bless him! I adore blueberries on breakfast cereal, but in England they're stupidly expensive all year round. But that's BECAUSE they're superfoods! Bah, humbug. Indigo

Linda Medrano said...

What an extraordinary boy to be so sensitive! God love him, and keep him in blueberries always! Bless his heart!

Rubye Jack said...

You know when I was a kid blueberries and blackberries were everywhere, and now it seems they're nowhere but the grocery shelf. Where'd they go?
This is such a sweet story.

The Loerzels said...

What I wouldn't pay for blueberries! We can't get them here :(

Nezzy said...

Kiddos never fail to amuse me! I just loved the 'good for me, bad for the egg"...cracked me up!!!

Ya just can't eat too many blueberries, especially at my age! I need all the help I can get.

God bless ya and have a magnificent day!!! :o)

Mad Woman behind the Blog said...

Oh I so love reading about these kids. Thank you for sharing their stories.
And blueberries? We are addicted to them. I buy them by the quart at the farmer's market and then put them in the freezer. We eat them like little frozen treats.
But then my kid likes frozen peas too.

Thom Brown said...

This is a wonderful post. I love it - blueberries too.

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