That's because I've picked 32 cups of wineberries in July.
It's a brief season, so I've been making a point to pick at least 2 cups nearly every day. I always save a quarter cup of so for my breakfast cereal, but I freeze the rest and anticipate enjoying organic, homegrown berries all winter long.
It's a simple three-step process. After picking about 2 cups of berries, I put them in a screened basket and rinse them well under the faucet. A colander would do just fine. Then I shake them so they're evenly covering the screened basket and I put them, with a tray underneath to catch drips, in front of one of my floor fans which are constantly running in this hot weather.
Once they're dry, I gently drop the berries into the tray, making sure to wipe it dry before doing so. Then in it goes in the freezer. After a few hours, I'll take them out and store the frozen berries into zip-lock sandwich bags. This way, I only need remove a small amount of berries at any one time. When I use them for my breakfast cereal, there's no need to dethaw them; they warm up quickly.
In other news, I found the large, plump woodchuck near one of the burrows, dead as a doornail. I think it likely, given the recent sighting of the coyote pup, that a coyote, perhaps the pup's mother, killed the woodchuck. I should have buried it, but it smelled pretty bad, and flies were buzzing around it. In fact it was that dead animal smell that led me to look for the source of that odor. So I've just avoided the spot. Pretty soon it'll be history.
I must admit to feeling some relief, as I hoped I could perhaps now be woodchuck-free for at least the rest of this season. I was relaying the news about the woodchuck to my father yesterday on the phone. Just a few hours later, I spotted a baby woodchuck in the backyard. That's a really big disappointment. Maybe the coyotes will return again, since I've seen their scat, with wineberry seeds, in prominent spots in the side yard, including on top of a rock under the hemlock tree.