Saturday, July 16, 2011

Datil Harvest Begins, Blueberry Harvest Winds Down, Stoichiometry Heats Up

Emma picked the first blueberries from the backyard patch in very late April and we are still picking.
Based on what is still hanging from the tired branches, I think this 2011 berry harvest will end right around the end of July.
Let me tell you, I have eaten a blue million of them and I prefer them fresh while I pick or almost as fresh from the bowl of just picked berries.

Still, they do taste good in other ways and a blueberry scone is one of my favorite "other ways".
The dough picture above is actually a cinnamon-blueberry scone, since we simply added our berries to a favorite cinnamon scone recipe.

It was almost as good as the ones at Merciers Orchard in Blue Ridge, GA.

Above, you see the finished product, hot out of the oven, and still on the parchment paper.
Listen up ... parchment paper ROCKS!

Who knew you could slap dough on to paper, toss it in a hot oven and not burn down the house?

Well, okay ... Ray Bradbury knew this a long time ago, but he's a genius.
Currently, a trip to the garden brings back a mixed bowl of sweet and heat.
Those are datil peppers of course.

They are next years seed crop and this year's chowder, pilau, kung pao, black beans, chili, and anything else that needs improving with heat and unique flavor.
Bear is not much for spicy food, but he does love a good scone. Here he is begging for a nugget of sconey goodness.
He had his annual check up this week and the vet could not get over what a magnificent, muscular, healthy, handsome, happy specimen he was.
I had to agree of course.
Scones and coffee, blogging when I should be studying, missing posts due to work ... what is the world coming to?

This is the "Summer of Chemistry" for me.
At my new school, I am the entire high school science department (and a third of the middle school).

My course load is:
  1. Eighth grade comprehensive science
  2. High school biology (2 classes of this)
  3. High school environmental science     
  4. High school marine science honors     
  5. High school chemistry                           

Yes, you counted correctly ... 5 preps.
5 science preps.
I am used to multiple preps (3)coming from a small school, but this school is really small and everybody has multiple preps to the extreme.

Of those preps, chemistry is the totally new one and the most challenging.
Of course there is a teacher test($200!) to take, since it doesn't fall under my other 3 certifications.

I use a lot of chemistry foundational information in my other courses, but the last time I did any stoichiometry problems was ... ohhhh, let's see ... 1977-78.

So, no novel at bedtime for me this summer ... at least not until I pass this test.
I fall asleep with one of many chemistry books on my chest most nights.

I'm even skipping a family trip so I can immerse myself entirely in chemistry equation work while everyone is gone.

So bring on the scones and coffee and pass me my scientific calculator with more buttons and functions than an Apollo era computer.

If you are thinking, "FC, why make this change and put yourself through all this.", just be patient.

There is a method to my madness and in a future post I will share it.


Caroline said...

I wish that when snide comments are made about teachers "having the summer off", that folks realized just what we all do during the summer!
The kids benefit, the taxpayers benefit and we have the satisfaction of being our best selves. Those of you who have become nationally certified are even more amazing.
It is an honor to work with colleagues like that.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I would faint if I had to take a test. I hope it is worth it. I know it will be worth it to the children you teach. Good luck.

roger said...

we all have supreme confidence in your scholastic skills.

how many students are in this school?

mkircus said...

As a former science teacher who once had to teach chemistry, bioloty and physical science and almost died - and, oh yes, I had to scrounge for lab materials and spent a lot of time begging and building my own - I feel your pain. I later switched to teaching computer literacy and now am happily retired and living the vagabond life. I am waiting with baited breath to find a reason for your apparent madness.

Pablo said...

We stayed at a B&B in Seattle once and had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The innkeeper said she went out to her backyard that morning to pick the blueberries.

swamp4me said...

The last year I taught, I had 6 preps...they ranged from 8th grade science through 12th grade physics. You are in for a very full year ;)

Dani said...

You are gonna do great! Now how about sharin' the scone recipe.

LauraHinNJ said...

Yes, I would like the scone recipe also!

Can't wait to hear more about your new job. Glad to hear you're enjoying your time "off".

; )

Deb said...

Chemistry...ugh. Not my idea of a fun way to spend the summer!

Miz S said...

Wow. That's a lot of preps. Man, you're almost gonna be as busy as a first-grade teacher! Ha ha jk! I admire the h-e-l-l outta you, and you know it!!

Dani said...


Floridacracker said...

Okay , here is the scone recipe that we think is really sconalicious!

Well said.
I never call it vacation and correct those who do.
It is UNPAID leave.

I hope I do not faint during the test.

thanks! there are about 243 kids in grades k-12.

I have vagabond life envy.

I can vouch for the deliciousness of doing the same.
In a late answer to your previous comment/question about the Game Of Thrones ... I am listening to the audio version (28 discs) in my JEEP and loving every second of it.
I ordered three copies of the new book for each of the rabid fans in the family.

Heh! No wonder that was your LAST year!
I am in awe.

Thanks. Now get busy baking. The link is above.

Hey Laura!
The link to the recipe is at the top. Enjoy! I think you could toss in apple for a super twist on just cinnamon.

Agreed, but the price one must pay to teach on an island in the Gulf.
(Confession, I am actually enjoying much of this "self-reeducation)

Miz S,
I know! When I wrote that, I thought all of the elementary teachers are thinking, "WE ALWAYS DO THAT!"
Hope you are enjoying your land of the crazy caucasians vacation.

Floridacracker said...

Done! Done! Done! infinitum.

robin andrea said...

I once read that cooking is art but baking is chemistry. So, by the looks of that mouth-watering scone, you've got your chemistry down!

Floridacracker said...

I like that!
Perhaps we could have "Scone Class" one day at school.

Tom Stone said...

Do you live in Hastings? You are one of two people I know who loves Datil Peppers. The other was related to my cousin on his mother's side

Doug Taron said...

Hey FC, just between you and me, I'm actually a chemist by training (well, OK, a biochemist). Those funny letters after my name have nothing to do with butterflies, ecology or general biology. Don't tell anyone I'm an impostor, OK? Meanwhile if you run into any trouble, I've been around the block a time or three on this subject. Don't hesitate to shoot me an email.

Floridacracker said...

Only 2?
I grew up in St. Augustine, but live across the state from there now on the nature coast.

Native Mom said...

You are the best example of teachers in Florida - and they think you guys all just take summers off.

Don't give me the scone recipe - I don't bake. Just send some my way

Dani said...

Thank yah my friend. :)

Floridacracker said...

Thanks pal! I really appreciate that.

Native Mom,
Thanks. I stopped by my old school last week for some paperwork business and ran into about ten teachers there on their own time, fixing up their rooms, and planning.

The Publix deli has a good scone.

Enjoy Dani!

Thunder Dave said...

Hey don't sweat it! If I can be a working chemist for the past 30+ years surely you can teach it!

I think it would be easier to teach kids this stuff when it's the first time they're exposed to it. Try teaching chemistry to chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineers! I constantly have to remind them that theoretically everything works, in theory, but not necessarily in reality! ;-)

Thunder Dave said...

Oh I forgot to add that the scone looked delicious! Anything with fresh blueberries can't be bad!

Mrs. L said...

Hey FC, you've probably heard of Bassam Shakashiri? If not, he's one of the world's greatest chem teachers and has many great resources for when you actually get to the teaching part! Being new to Florida, I really enjoy your blog...I ran across it one day when I was researching datil peppers! Here's a link to Shakashiri:

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. L,
Just dropped back in here and wanted to say a belated thank you!