Berry picking is one of those summertime adventures that I always intend to get around to but seldom do. It’s like golf in my mind: beautiful, peaceful but good lord, it takes a stack of time. And I’ve had more excuses the past few summers: being attached to a newborn and then seven weeks away. The summer of 2014 holds much more promise and this June I stead my intention to pluck some blueberries as if it were the only item on my to-do list. As usual, I would have a certain blueberry-lovin’ toddler along for the ride. We invited a few friends and set out Tuesday morning for Architectural Trees in Bahama.
They open at 8:00 but that felt early even though I knew that it would be a hot day so we settled on 8:45. By the time that Elisabeth and I arrived, it was hot but there was a strong breeze. We met John the owner and he explained everything to us (have you ever tickled a blueberry before??). I opted for only one bucket (how much could I really pick myself?) and after washing our hands we set out.
Even though John had told us to go a little further out, I didn’t listen and instead just turned right up the second row. The blueberries were small, perfect and tasty. Elisabeth dug right in, just like one of her favorite books, Blueberries for Sal, while I kept picking and plunking the berries into my bucket. There were blueberries, sure, and they tasted terrific but the bushes were definitely looking a bit picked over so I decided we should venture a little further up. We headed up four rows and struck gold. Each bush seemed to be waiting for us. Clusters of berries on every branch, eight thick. We were in heaven.
Right around this time, we had a few friends join us and I noticed that my bucket was almost full. I couldn’t believe it! You never know quite how things are going to go with a toddler along on a new adventure so I hadn’t been overly ambitious. But Elisabeth was a trooper. We were both getting a little hot and the breeze had definitely died down but we were both hanging in there. The little sprinkler “outlets” every once in a while provided a cool distraction which was a fun plus.
Another bucket was procured. We set out again. But we were slowing. Elisabeth was wanting to be held, a sure sign that she was tired and bored. She was also sticky hot. Somehow that bucket was filled just as we were about on empty. We’d been in the blueberry patch for almost 90 minutes so I chalked that up as a success. When we cashed out ($3/lb..what a deal!) I’d spent all but 75cents of the cash that I had on hand. [Cash or check only for blueberries.] I lugged a toddler, her backpack, water bottle and almost 8 pounds of blueberries back to the car…slowly. We said goodbye to some friends and stripped down. Well, one of us did. I brought a thin dress for Elisabeth to change into (carefully packed in a Ziploc bag underneath the ice in our cooler, an idea inspired by one of my favorite movies, The Seven Year Itch) along with fresh water and ice for her Camelbak and a semi-frozen YoToddler squeezie. I loaded the car back up again cranked on the a/c and took a few last pictures.
<—– One of my bags of blueberries. A few green ones got in there!
A view of the blueberries from our parked car —>
More and more I realize that I just never know how something is going to work with Elisabeth but if I really want to do it, we should try it and see what happens. I know sometimes Elisabeth gets excited for an adventure because I get excited for an adventure! And while I may be hesitant to actually make the adventure happen because there are so many things that could go wrong or feel frustrating, if it feels important to me, I need to try it. Next on this summer “try it” list is taking the train from Durham to Raleigh for the morning at Marbles! Who’s with us?