It’s hot.

It’s very hot.

I’m not going to com­plain, though. Our weather has volleyed between 65 degree highs and 95 degrees highs, rather bipo­lar. And when it was cooler, I was very loudly unhappy about it not feel­ing like sum­mer. Some­thing out there must have heard me, because here we are.

The heat has some ben­e­fits, though, one of which being ripe fruit. My can­ning kick has con­tin­ued… and con­tin­ued… and I’m onto my ninth vari­ety of jam! I’m going to try to take a break until fall, when I’ll start in on the but­ters (apple but­ter, pear but­ter and pump­kin but­ter). So far, one of the funnest parts of mak­ing jam has been gath­er­ing the fruit, mean­ing field trips to pick it.

My friend Sandy and I recently went blue­berry pick­ing, which was quite fun and scenic.

blueberry bunch

I picked about 13 lbs. for jam and freez­ing. Well, and eat­ing too, of course.

blueberry bucket

After fill­ing our buck­ets with blue­ber­ries, we moved onto marionberries.

blue- marion berries

We met a cute lit­tle friend along the way. He was about the size of a half-dollar.


This lit­tle guy was liv­ing the good life at the large, boun­ti­ful farm we were pick­ing at, hang­ing out in the shade on a very hot, bright day. Smart lit­tle dude…

Later that week­end, while rasp­berry pick­ing with Amy and our trusty side­kicks, Jim and Tim, we came across these hor­nets. I think they were sleep­ing in, which was fine by me.


After mak­ing loads more jam as well as freez­ing bags of berries, I decided to do some­thing I don’t really do very often, which is bake with fruit. Sure, I toss hand­fuls of frozen berries into muffins, but rarely do I bake some­thing where fruit is the cen­ter­piece. I just love it so much on it’s own, I don’t nor­mally see any rea­son to mess with it.

plum berry pan

This par­tic­u­lar recipe called for plums and blue­ber­ries. I veg­a­nized it using vanilla soy yogurt for the eggs.


I love upside down cakes because they are such a lovely sur­prise. For this cake, I used spelt flour, which is my new grain addiction.

After it cooled, I flipped it over. Notice the classy tex­ture from the bot­tom of my spring­form pan. Nice…


The hard thing about upside down cakes is deter­min­ing when they are done. I baked this cake for 10 min­utes longer than the recipe said and it was still under­done in the mid­dle. It cer­tainly didn’t keep us from eat­ing it, though.

plum cakeslice

With all this can­ning and bak­ing, how­ever, I’m not doing a very good job of keep­ing our house cool. Jim and I always have the option of pranc­ing around in our skivvies. There are other peo­ple who are not so lucky.


Here is Linus, try­ing to catch a breeze below the din­ing room window.


Bindhi assumed the “dead bug” posi­tion under the ceil­ing fan. Hey, we do what we can, right?

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0 Responses to very berry american summer

  1. Jojo says:

    Oh my gosh that upside down cake looks awe­some and the lit­tle frog is so cute!

  2. Josiane says:

    Your upside down cake looks deli­cious! I love bak­ing with fruits. I’ve been exposed to that much more than I have been exposed to jam mak­ing and can­ning (which is pretty much not at all), so that’s the thing I most love doing with the fruits I pick — besides eat­ing them fresh, of course! Unfor­tu­nately, I haven’t yet had the oppor­tu­nity to go fruit pick­ing this sum­mer. At least, there is still time for blue­ber­ries, and I hope I’ll be able to take advan­tage of it.

  3. Vegetation says:

    Aww I love the orchard photos!

    And that upside down cake looks fab­u­lous! I love the spring­form cake pan look 😀

    KITTIES!!!! Awww they’re too adorable!!! Mine look almost iden­ti­cal come the hot months. At the moment though I find them in all sorts of hidey holes try­ing to stay warm!

  4. Diann says:

    You haven’t been hot until you’ve been here in Texas! It’s 112 on my patio right now.

    I know what you mean about cook­ing fresh fruits — I strug­gle with that too. It sure makes good desserts though and your cake looks really deli­cious. I’m glad you showed a pic­ture of mar­i­on­ber­ries. I just bought a big bag of frozen berries and I wasn’t sure what I was get­ting. We have great blue­ber­ries here, but I’ve never seen marionberries.

    I love lit­tle tree frogs. And kitties!

    • Kris says:

      Hey there, I used to live in AZ, so I know hot… and I’m a fan of warm. But Port­land doesn’t nor­mally get very hot and 90% of places here don’t have A/C because of it… so it makes for gen­eral crappiness. :)

      I think mar­i­on­ber­ries are a PacNW exclu­sive. In the mid­west we have boy­sen­ber­ries, and while they kind of look the same, they are pretty dif­fer­ent, too.