I don’t know when I became a farmer, but I was born a hunter-gatherer…. well at least a gatherer. I have attempted to plant & grow things since I was little & today I have a small vegetable garden, berry bushes, grape vines, and a few fruit tress. On the to do list for today were: berries to be picked, butternut squash to be harvested, & potatoes to be dug. All of these will be put aside for the graduation party to be held next weekend. The garlic has already been harvested & hung to dry. Except for my peas which failed miserably, the garden has been a great success this year. I am the only farmer in this household and I have too much farm for one farmer. I keep up as best as I can, but the work is never done and the weeds win every battle.
Today job one was blackberry picking. I have a small patch that arrived unannounced & uninvited two summers ago in the middle of my “wild flower garden” AKA “pretty weed area”. It now provides me with buckets of big black berries. When I was a kid going berry picking was a bona-fide family outing. These trips did not include a visit to a pretty gentleman’s farm for “pick your own berries” with cold drinks and ice cream served in the gift shop. No, we went on long hot car rides along dusty dirt roads in search of a bramble. We would stop & pick berries in waist-high weeds, complete with snakes and scary bugs. We got scraped up & we got dirty. That is what we did. Sometimes it was blackberries, other times elderberries, and once tiny wild blueberries. On occasion there was advance planning involved in these events & we would have bologna sandwiches on white bread with yellow mustard and a big thermos jug of red Kool-Ade. Almost always my little sister would get car sick & vomit, in the car, never out the window. This was always good for some screaming from the back seat. Sometimes we would pass a rider on a horse and I would daydream that one day I would ride a horse along country roads. That was always a thrill for me and I am saddened that my girls don’t seem to enjoy the same excitement over nothing at all.
At the end of the day, our reward would be pie. Pies were a big deal in our house. It takes skill to make a great pie with a perfectly flaky crust & a fruit filling that has just the right amount of juicy goodness, yet doesn’t make the bottom crust soggy, but, still is wet enough to taste of fresh berries. If we had enough, we would have a bowl of berries with milk & sugar on top. The cold milk turning all purple on our sun/Pontiac station wagon-warmed berries.
Tomorrow it’s peaches. The tree is heavy with them and the cats can scarcely keep the squirrels at bay. After several hours of peeling & slicing there will be pie, and I guarantee that crust will be flaky.