TGS Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking

“Hi Nonna,” said Alexandra as she walked into her grandmother’s kitchen. “What are you doing?” 

“I’m going to make blueberry buckle,” Nonna replied. 

“What’s blueberry buckle?” asked Ali with a quizzical look.

“It’s like a delicious blueberry muffin but in a big cake pan,” said Nonna.  “Papa is about to go pick some blueberries from the bushes down in the fields.” 

“Can I help you?” asked Ali.  

“That would be great.  First why don’t you go with Papa and help him pick blueberries.  Ask your brother if he’d like to go, too.  Then when you all get back, you can help me make the blueberry buckle,” said Nonna.

Ali ran back to her house next door to ask her brother if he wanted to go blueberry picking, too. 

“Cory! Cory!” she called out as she bounded into the house. 

“What? I’m in here.” he yelled from the living room where he was watching TV. 

“Do you want to go blueberry picking with Papa and me and then help Nonna make blueberry BUCKLES?” she asked. 

Cory laughed.  “You mean blueberry BUCKLE?”

“Yes!” Ali replied exasperated.  “Buckles. Buckle. Whatever it’s called.  Nonna is going to make some for her Holy Lady group meeting tomorrow. I’m going to help her. Do you want to help, too?” 

Cory was already turning off the TV.

“Yes, count me in,” said Cory. 

They walked back over to Nonna and Papa’s and met Papa in the backyard. 

“You kids ready to go?  I’ve got three blueberry picking buckets over there on the stone wall.  Let’s each take one,” said Papa.    

As they walked through the fields, Papa again told them stories about their dad when he was little.  How he loved to watch the fire trucks drive down the street with their sirens and light on.  Cory laughed, “Dad still likes the fire trucks! I think that’s why he became a volunteer fireman!” 

“I think you’re right,” chuckled Papa. 

A few moments later, they reached the blueberry bushes and started picking. 

They walked around the bushes filling their buckets. Only problem was Ali liked to eat them more than she liked putting them in the bucket!  

“My bucket is full,” Cory called out. 

“Ok, mine, too,” replied Papa. 

“How about yours Alexandra?” asked Papa.   

“Well, my bucket is half full but my tummy is all the way full!” she laughed. 

Papa and Cory laughed, too.

“Ok, well, we have plenty for Nonna to use. Maybe some extra for blueberry pancakes tomorrow morning, too.  Let’s head back home,” said Papa. 

 “Nonna, we’re back!” Ali called out. 

“Hi there,” Nonna replied as she walked into the kitchen to greet them.  “Looks like you had a successful picking trip! Let’s start to make the buckle.  Cory, can you get the eggs out of the refrigerator please? Papa, can you bring a stool over the counter so that Alexandra can reach?” 

Papa placed the stool at the counter and Ali stepped up onto it. 

“Thanks Papa!” 

“Alexandra, add these two sticks of butter into the bowl. Cory, take two eggs out and we’ll crack them and put them in,” said Nonna. 

“I want to crack one, too!” said Alexandra.

“Yes, you can each crack one,” said Nonna.  “Gently tap it on the edge of the counter.  Yes, just like that. Now pull it apart over the bowl and let the egg slide in with the butter in the bowl.  Now we mix these up. Excellent!  Now Alexandra, fill this cup with flour and dump it into the bowl. Cory, you can fill this smaller cup up with sugar and pour it in, too. Perfect. Now I’ll add a little oil and water. Now we just need to mix it and we’ll be done.” 

Nonna poured the batter into a big rectangular pan.  “I made the butter and sugar topping while you were out blueberry picking, but now you two can spoon it on top of the batter.”  Cory and Alexandra each spooned the mixture on top. 

“This will turn the top golden brown when it cooks,” explained Nonna. 

“That sugary topping also makes it even more delicious,” declared Papa from his big wooden stool in the corner where he was reading the newspaper. 

“Now the blueberry buckle looks ready for the oven,” Nonna said as she opened the oven door and slid it in.  “Cory, please set the timer for 45minutes.” 

“Nonna and Papa,” began Alexandra, “can I invite the Grape Sisters over tomorrow to do this again? This was fun!” 

Nonna and Papa looked at each other and Nonna replied, “We would love to have your friends over for some blueberry picking and baking.  Maybe tomorrow we should make a blueberry pie! The Holy Ladies are coming for a meeting in the morning, so invite the Grape Sisters to come in the afternoon.” 

Cory and Ali sat at the kitchen table and Nonna poured them some lemonade.  Papa began to wash the dishes.  He always washed the dishes.  Always said he likes to clean up more than he likes to cook.   “Who are the Holy Ladies, Nonna?” Cory asked. 

“Oh, they are a group of women in town who all come together to share their religious faiths.  We all have different beliefs but we can appreciate the similarities and collaborate on different community projects.  Like the bake sale we’re doing next month to raise money for a local charity.  We choose to accept each other and to be friends regardless of our religious differences.  The Holy Ladies group was formed because we think it is better to be friends and help each other.” 

“Oh, that’s cool,” said Cory, “I have friends who go to mosques and churches and temples.  I guess we’re kinda like the Holy boys!” 

Nonna and Papa laughed.  “Yes! You’re right.  It’s great that you are all friends regardless of where they go to pray.” 

“I don’t know where the Grape Sisters pray,” piped in Ali.  I pray in bed before sleep.  Mom and Dad say prayers with me.” 

“That’s right,” said Nonna, “we each pray in whichever way makes us comfortable.  That’s what’s important to remember.  Your friends are your friends and you can each pray in your own way or not at all for that matter.” 

The timer dinged!

“Time to check on the blueberry buckle,” announced Nonna. “Alexandra dip one of these tooth picks into the buckle.” 

Nonna opened the oven.  The top was a nice brown crisp and the tooth pick came out clean.  “The buckle is done!” declared Nonna as she took is out using the oven mits.  “We’ll let it cool for a bit and then we’ll each try a small piece and leave the rest for tomorrow’s meeting with the ladies.  OK?” 

“Sounds good,” said Cory.  

“I’m going to call and invite the grape sisters to come over tomorrow.  I’ll be back in a few minutes,” said Alexandra. 

When the buckle was cooled, Nonna, Papa, Cory and Alexandra sat around the kitchen table and each ate a piece. 

“This is delicious!” exclaimed Cory. 

“This is soooo good!” agreed Alexandra. 

“Are the Grape Sisters able to come over tomorrow Ali?” asked Nonna. 

“Yes! They are all going to come over in the afternoon and everyone is excited.  Papa, do we have enough buckets?” asked Alexandra. 

“Yes, I’m sure I can find an extra couple of buckets in the back room.  I better make sure there are enough blueberries on the bushes, too!” Papa joked.   Alexandra’s eyes went big with worry. 

“Not enough blueberries?!” she exclaimed.  Papa chuckled. 

“I’m just teasing Alexandra.  There are plenty of blueberries,” he reassured her.            

The next day all the girls arrived just as planned and headed out with Papa to pick blueberries.  “I’ll be ready to make pies when you girls return,” said Nonna and she set about preparing the kitchen. 

“OK girls,” said Papa, “let’s fill your buckets as much as you can.  We’ll use some for the pies and then we’ll send the remainder of the blueberries home with each of you. You can eat a few, too, but don’t eat too many or you won’t have any to bring home later!” 

“OK Papa,” they said and started picking.  They talked, laughed and picked blueberries for about an hour. Then they were tired and ready to go. 

“I think that’s enough girls.  Let’s head back to Nonna,” said Papa.

Nonna was ready with all the ingredients laid out.  Plus rolling pins to roll out the dough.  The girls took turns adding ingredients, breaking eggs, kneading the dough and rolling it out.  Then the pies went into the oven.  “I’m setting the timer for 45min.  Why don’t you girls go outside and play on the swing set until they are done.  I’ll call you when they are ready to eat.” 

“OK” they answered and ran out to play in the backyard. 

When the crust was golden brown, Nonna took the pies out and let them cool.  Then when she thought the pies were cool enough to eat, she called the girls in, “Come on girls.  The pies are done! Who would like some home made ice cream, too?  Cory and Papa were making some while we made the pies.” Hands went up around the table. 

Then they all sat around the table eating pie and ice cream. 

“This was so much fun,” said Rania. 

“Thank you for taking us blueberry picking,” said Lela. 

“And thank you for teaching us to make pie,” said Tasha. 

“I can’t wait to bring the extra blueberries home to share with my family,” said Penny. 

“Papa and I are happy you girls had a great day.  You’re welcome back anytime.” 

“Thanks Nonna and Papa” said Alexandra. “We’ll have to do this again.  What can we make next time?” she asked.  

“How about strawberry shortcake?” suggested Papa.  The girls all shook their heads in agreement, “sounds good!”                 



Back of the Book Questions:

Have you ever picked blueberries or strawberries or apples?

Have you ever made homemade pie or muffins or buckle?

What’s your favorite pie?

Do you go to a church or a mosque or a temple? 

If you pray, do you have a special prayer?