Strawberry smoothies made with fresh ripe strawberries taste so good on a hot afternoon! I love this time of year when strawberries are in season, and I especially like going to the “pick your own” places and picking them fresh off the vine.
One of my favorite memories of my grandma was helping her pick strawberries in her huge strawberry patch.
My grandparents always had a large vegetable garden out beyond their back yard, with grandma’s strawberry patch right beside it, and grandpa’s bee hives were down the hill from there. Grandpa and his bees are a story for another day, and I’m looking forward to telling it!
Grandma’s favorite time to pick strawberries was early morning, when the plants were still wet with dew, and the sun was barely awake. As a small child, I was fascinated by how many red, juicy strawberries would appear from one morning to the next. We would make our way through the rows and pick all of the ripe ones, and there would be another batch ready to pick the next day.
Grandpa had made scarecrows to stand in the garden and strawberry patch to keep the birds from helping themselves, but there was still evidence that a brave bird or two had feasted on ripe strawberries. They always pecked the ripe fruit out, and left just some skin with the green top attached to the vine. Birds aren’t dummies, they know the best part of a strawberry!
Grandma and I always got our feet and dress tails wet picking strawberries, as we made our way through the dew soaked rows of plants. I couldn’t resist eating just about as many strawberries as I put in the bucket, they tasted so good freshly picked. Strawberries are still one of my all-time favorite fruits, sharing the #1 spot only with blueberries.
Some of my strawberry picking enthusiasm was briefly dampened, when one morning I noticed white foamy stuff on the stem of a plant, as I reached to pluck the ripe strawberry attached to it.
I asked grandma,
“what’s this white stuff?”
She promptly replied,
“oh, that’s just snake spit.”
I jerked my hand back like it had been scalded and jumped up, slowly scanning the ground for the culprit as I backed away from the plants, worried that the offending snake was hiding under a strawberry plant. I imagined a huge, ugly snake just waiting for a chance to spit on us, or even worse, waiting to bite us. Grandma assured me that any snakes were long gone, and that they run away when they hear people noises.
It was years before I knew what the snake spit really was, and by then grandma had gone on to Heaven, so I couldn’t share my newfound knowledge with her. In the meantime, the presence of snake spit didn’t stop me from going to the strawberry patch with grandma to pick strawberries when we were there during their ripe season. I was careful to watch for it though, because the idea of touching snake spit didn’t appeal to me at all, and I definitely didn’t want any to end up on our strawberries.
I was thinking about grandma and her strawberry patch a few days ago while cleaning some strawberries that said “Fresh Picked” on the package. I remembered eating the strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, or bowls of just plain strawberries, picked from grandma’s strawberry patch. I also remembered the strawberry jam that tasted so good on grandma’s biscuits or pancakes, even long after strawberry season was over.
Strawberry jam tastes especially good on a hot biscuit or toast for breakfast on a cold winter morning.
The reminiscing about grandma’s strawberry patch eventually led to remembering the snake spit discovery. Which ultimately led to thinking about the experiences I’ve had with snakes in my own yard and garden through the years. After surprising a snake a couple of times, and having one rear its head up and hiss at me, I learned to proceed with caution around their common hangouts.
Or more specifically, in my vegetable garden, flower garden, strawberry patch, and any other spots where plant leaves or shrubs provide a nice, cool, shady place for them to nap. I’ve jerked my hand back like it was scalded more than once as an adult, when I reached in to pick a tomato, pull a weed, or check for ripe strawberries hiding under the leaves.
I had a couple of false alarms, but I prefer a false alarm to the time I reached in and pulled a weed right beside a huge black snake that had taken up residence in my garden. Or the time I rounded the corner of my house and almost stepped on a big snake that was crawling across my sidewalk, headed for the shade of a flowering Rose of Sharon bush. That’s the one that reared its head up and hissed at me, and I backed very slowly back around the corner, checking to see if I was being followed. I was very relieved to see that I wasn’t! I wondered if that was the mama snake who tried to raise her babies under my porch, then she later found they had all met with an untimely death, and somehow knew that I was responsible for the death of her babies.
Snakes have been invading gardens since the beginning of time, and their presence is never welcome in mine. Adam and Eve were enjoying the Garden of Eden until satan used the snake to tempt, and ultimately to deceive them. Whether it’s a strawberry patch, a flower or vegetable garden, or a shady spot on a hot day, there’s always a chance a snake is hiding in the coolness of the foliage. That’s the way it is for our adversary the devil, too. He watches and waits to catch us unaware, rearing his head when we least expect it, and it’s often when we’re doing common, everyday things, or just enjoying time with someone we love.
Satan’s goal is to steal and destroy, and he is never to be considered harmless, like some species of snakes. However, we do have to educate ourselves about which snakes are harmless, and which are deadly. And the Good News is, we have a way to educate ourselves about not only the deadly characteristics of satan, but also how to protect ourselves from him.
Here are only a few references (emphasis mine):
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. Genesis 3:1
And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:7, Job 2:2
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11
Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
…we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 1 Thessalonians 2:18
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
Fear of snakes doesn’t keep me from gardening or picking a bouquet of flowers, and worry about satan doesn’t keep me from living my life. I’m careful about watching for snakes around the plants, and I’m careful to wear the armor of God and submit to Him to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. God only expects us to do what we can, and He will do the rest.
After writing about strawberries and looking at my strawberry pictures, I’m craving a strawberry smoothie! I freeze my strawberries in advance, so it takes little or no ice, and it has more strawberry flavor.
I put about a cup and a half of juice (grape is my favorite) and 4-5 medium/large strawberries in the blender, with a serving of vanilla protein powder, and blend it on high speed, icy drink setting, until it’s slushy. If it’s too icy I add a little more juice, if it’s not icy enough I add a little crushed ice.
Soon the blueberries will be ready to pick, and I can add them to make a strawberry/blueberry smoothie.
Footnote: The white foamy stuff I saw on the strawberry plants was really from a Spittlebug, but has been called “snake spit” or “frog spit” for longer than I’ve been alive. Apparently my grandma had always heard it called snake spit, and just passed that information on down, which is often how many myths, or ‘old wives tales’ get started and continue for generations.