July 8, 2013

The Old Folk's Farm

This weekend we had visitors in the garden, and two of them were young boys, ages six and seven.  It was too hot and humid for the adults to be outside in the midday sun, but I gave each of the boys a big paper cup and said "let's go pick blueberries".

I told them to look for the bluest, and leave the pink or green ones on the bush to ripen, so they examined each blueberry before picking it.

They soon discovered with glee that the fattest round treasures were underneath the leaves.

They got competitive to see whose cup could fill the fastest. They scouted all the branches as they leaned into each shrub, looking for the best selections.

One got excited to see that a berry he had picked had a little green worm sticking out of it! It was actually the stem, still attached, so he was a little deflated about that.

Then it happened. "Aunt Laurrie, can I eat one?" "Yes."

"Right off the bush?" "Go ahead."

Children hide nothing. The delight of a sweet, tangy blueberry (mine are a little tart), warm from the sun, lit up his entire face. It tasted good, it came from a plant right in front of him and you didn't have to go to the store to get it.


My four blueberry bushes are in a garden right off the patio. Later we picked the harvest from the first year vaccinium plants that I planted just this spring out in the meadow. Tall grass and weeds engulfed the boys out there, making it seem like they were hacking through a jungle, so that was a lot of fun too.

Then Jim gave them rides around the yard on his riding lawnmower.

Years from now, when these guys are young men, they will get nostalgic one day when they see pint baskets of blueberries for sale at a farmer's market, and tell someone about the day they ate blueberries that they picked themselves in the hot sun out there at the old folk's farm.




Post script:
I just don't get what's going on this year. First my strawberry bonanza, now the blueberry boom, after having almost no production for the four or five years that these plants have been in my garden. Barely a berry in past years, and what did ripen was eaten by birds or animals. 

This year I did not cover the strawberries and I am not netting the blueberries, yet not a single fruit is touched. I go out every day and haul in bowls of berries. This was breakfast today (I know, it looks like dessert), and it is only what I got off two of the shrubs while the coffee brewed. 

After breakfast I had to go out and pick the other bushes too. I'll share with the neighbors, and freeze some and eat all I want, but I need more small boys to come pick blueberries for me -- so if you know one send him over!

30 comments:

  1. Those are some awesome looking berries, and it's great that you are getting so many this year. We freeze all manner of berries every year and use them throughout the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. El Gaucho, I can't explain why I am getting this much bounty, but it is so welcome.

      Delete
  2. Sometimes things just go right, enjoy it while it lasts. Your story reminds me of how we used to go to U-Pick farms in Michigan when the boys were small. We would bring home blueberries, cherries, strawberries, apples, peaches, and apricots. Even when they started out grumpy, the boys always perked up at the U-pick farm, and always loved to eat some fruit right off the bush or tree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jason, there is nothing like a day outside eating your way through a berry patch to improve anyone's mood!

      Delete
  3. How absolutely adorable are they! And as for your crops...that is just too awesome!!! What in the world is on your plate??? It looks absolutely divine!!!! Nothing better than having fresh fruit straight from your garden! Doesn't it just make you proud!?!?! Have a lovely week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicole, my plate at breakfast had a big chunk of lemon pound cake under all those blueberries : ) Not breakfast food, more like dessert, but yum with coffee.

      Delete
  4. Note to self: get over to South Glastonbury this weekend for some native blues. I wish I had room(and enough sun) on my property for berry bushes. My friend has a raspberry patch in her garden. Whenever I'm visiting during the season I snack right from the bushes. It's a great appetizer with a glass of wine. Nothing beats fresh picked, sun warmed fruit. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, Two blueberry bushes don't take up much room in a small garden, but your lack of sun would be a problem. I planted the four original half-high blueberries in my garden just for ornamental value -- they stay small and are pretty shrubs. But now I am into blueberry farming! Enjoy those So. Glastonbury berries.

      Delete
  5. What a delight, having little people come help pick berries. I wish I knew some little people that lived in your area I would send them over to help pick. Heck, I would come over to help pick. :) You were making memories. Who knows maybe you were making gardeners out there. What ever it was making fun. My DB went to a local berry farm and picked 12# of blueberries. We froze most of them. Yummm I don't know if they will last until winter when it is so nice to be able to pull a few out of the freezer and get that blast of summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, you can come over and pick all you want here this year! Frozen blueberries are great to eat right out of the freezer without even thawing them. On a hot day they are like little popsicle bombs.

      Delete
  6. I do know a couple of small boys, but I'd like to come and pick blueberries myself! What wonderful memories you have created for these little boys--perhaps they'll decide to plant blueberries themselves one day. I chuckled at "the old folks' farm"--my grandson, now 6, has enjoyed looking for caterpillars on my fennel and dill in past years. He thinks I'm an "old lady":)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose, how very ancient we must seem to a six year old. And how big the caterpillars must look to him, and how vast the stretches of garden must appear!

      Delete
  7. Now that I'm gone from Connecticut, you tell me the berry crops are large annnd that I might not have to fight the birds and chipmunks for the berries.

    I do find it comforting that boys still can experience the joy of real food picked and eaten fresh, giving them a connection to nature that often is missing in our gadget-centric world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I worry about the increasingly rare forays that young kids make out into nature now. There is so much to see (and taste) and many children just don't go outside unless they are on a stretch of mown grass playing soccer. sigh.

      Delete
  8. What Lee said. You're giving them such wonderful memories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, true --- and it also works the other way around. They gave me an afternoon I'll remember of little boys picking berries!

      Delete
  9. Blueberry look so tasty and juicy! I understand the boys: eat right off the bush, yummy!
    We pick them up in the wood, the bushes are low enough. I cooked blueberry cake this monday, did you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadezda, one of my favorite memories from when I was a child was picking wild blueberries in the woods! Your blueberry cake must have tasted great this morning.

      Delete
  10. So cute! The only thing I can think of is that we had so many days of rain in May and June that the plants have gone crazy and so have the insects! So many dragonflies and beetles this year-and the cicadas in spots. Maybe the birds are too busy stuffing themselves with bugs to bother with the fruit right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, Those are my thoughts too -- all the rain right before fruit set made for a bounteous harvest, and the fact that the birds have so much variety to eat now means they don't go after the fruit. But still, it's odd.

      I have noticed more dragonflies than ever before this year! They must really like all the wet.

      Delete
  11. nothing like fresh picked berries..and I picked enough raspberries to make three pies...my granddaughter will remember me for this for the rest of her days! what a great bonding experience

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon, I can taste your raspberry pies right now! Wonderful memories for your granddaughter.

      Delete
  12. I remember seeing a video clip of Jamie Oliver and a bunch of grade school kids. He would hold up a common vegetable and ask the class, "What is this?" The kids couldn't identify many of the most common veggies. It is great that your nephews can make the connection between the berry they have eaten and the plant that grew it. I think it is also nice that they could eat the berries right off the bush without worrying about pesticides.
    I bought a blueberry bush the other day on clearance. I figure I would try one out. Based on your experience, I wonder if it is the case that they take years to mature and produce fruit in sufficient quantities?
    I loved your last post as well. Beautiful written and considered!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, thanks. I don't think blueberry bushes take years to mature -- you should be seeing good production at an early age. I think it was entirely due to the timing of a ton of rain this year. We got more than 9 inches of rain in June, just when the fruits were setting, the first year that has happened.

      Delete
  13. I think it's kind of wonderful that it feels like a special event to pick food from our gardens. Yes, it's kind of sad that we are so used to buying it at the store but at the same time we should be in awe of nature and her miracles. (I wonder if your blueberries are making up for years of misbehaving :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosemary, I know, it should just feel normal to go out and pick our own food, but it certainly feels wondrous -- not just to liittle boys but to me too -- to get food in our backyards.

      Delete
  14. I've read that cold winters are good for our gardens. But maybe they just needed time to mature. I love that your nephews were even interested in picking berries and didn't argue that they'd rather play video games instead. Your breakfast/dessert looks delish! I'm eating grocery store blueberries right now and they taste like nothing. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, the little guys always look forward to coming here to ride on the tractor -- the tractor of course is our riding lawnmower and our place is a suburban half acre. But I think in their minds this will always be a big old farm : )

      Delete
  15. You have provided wonderful memories for these boys that might spark them to plant blueberry bushes when they have property of their own. Passing the wonder of nature into the next generation is one of the best things we do as gardeners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joene, I'm still waiting for grandchildren! How much fun that will be to show them things in the garden. Some day.

      Delete

Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.