Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Absolutely Worth It.

So, I'm in the basement and under the swinging lightbulb writing a second post of the day. That never happens because as I shared earlier...blogging has become a grievous chore on my laptop. The basement is somewhat spooky like all unfinished basements sort of are, but I found one last plug space in the power-bar of truth down here, so I plugged in a secondary lamp and flicked the old tower computer on.

What d'ya know, the old girl works.

Pictures I've been trying to get off my camera since last week were suddenly right there on the desktop and clicking through them didn't freeze my computer....


As I went through my albums, cropping and editing, it brought back all the warm feelings I used to have about blogging. I made peace with the effort of getting my photographs onto this space and was struck by how much I liked using pictures when they didn't frustrate me.... so here are a bunch I've been dying to share.

and there's even a great story to go with them....

It all started Friday morning, trying to decide what we should do with our morning....

Ava Grace suggested picking berries and we all agreed that sounded like a pretty good idea. 

I used to think that I lived in the real heart of farmland when we resided in I'm thinking our new location has a way better beat on U-picks and hobby farms that we can actually support and benefit from. Within ten minutes of our front door we came across two exceptional farms offering us a decent price for whatever we could get off of the bushes we should've been out to pick last week.

"The yields this year weren't great" we were told "But whatever you can find is yours."

I must not a  very picky picker....
Let's just say I thought those trees were bedecked in jewels (the candies of the earth, I call them)...I thought those farmers were surely just being modest....I thought they must have had a pretty high expectation for their bushes to produce... I thought everything was lovely... I thought....

...well, I won't fill this with all my random thoughts but among them was the thought that I was really grateful I had followed the advice to don my big ol' gum boots and long sleeves.

what a rock star...I don't know whether I love or loathe that hat.

The whole time we picked we ate and the only rule was that if you were going to eat a berry, you had to pick it off the bush not out of the basket.

I became very adamant on this as I settled into the mode of crazed berry picking mother (somewhat like a black bear with a blueberry bush I imagine). I used both hands reaching into the center of those pesky prickles determined that even this poor yield would still mean I got a bucket full.

I did, and I was very happy as I pried off my stiff boots in the car and dreamed up all the things I was going to do with our two small pails; one of Saskatoons and one of raspberries.

We ate bowls of berries for lunch .... again. We had had bowls of blueberries from a fruit truck at the farmer's market the day before, but our new batch tasted even better. Maybe it was because we had stood in the warm sun and listened to them plunk into our pails and baskets ourselves. We had pulled our soggy boots out of the sucking mud and made up contests all of which ran along the lines of who found and ate the best berries... all of which Ava Grace was the self-proclaimed winner.

I was so euphoric about our U-picking experience that even in the frenzied rush of setting up and running our yearly garage sale later that afternoon I was still making small talk with any customer who would listen about how wonderful our berry picking morning was.

I'm sure they all thought I was a little nutty (that actually happens to me a lot believe it or not) and if they didn't think so when I started just giving my stuff away for literally dimes ( I have really good garage sales btw for future reference), I'm sure they thought it when I started telling them all of my plans for jam...

The really excited jam girl who gives away her housewares away for a quarter...that's me.

Well, then I met my match. A Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks if I ever saw one  
(hence, the hairdo and makeup, cowboy jacket and large black GARTH BROOKS TOUR OF 93 Tshirt.)

"How much did you pay for your berries?" she said VERY seriously.

"Um...12.00 for a pail I think"

"I'd charge you 10.00"

"Oh, that is a good deal" I said politely, nodding.

"Misquitoes?" she asked leaning into me

"I'm sorry?"

"Where there lots of mosquitoes bothering you while you picked!"

She sounded irritated to have to be explaining this to me.

"Oh, sure but they were okay." I chuckled backing away slightly.

"Do you want more?" ...a step closer.

"Mosquitoes?" I asked weakly?

"RASPBERRIES!" ( she may as well have added OF COURSE YOU IDIOT GIRL!)

"Oh, ya, I guess so that'd be great if I had more" and I prepared to launch into my jam plans speech...

"I'll be back."

and she was gone.

I forgot all about her until after the garage was closed up for the evening and we were putting the kids to bed. The doorbell rang and Kevin informed me a lady with bleach blond hair dressed up like a cowgirl was standing on our porch with a bunch of berries.

I mentioned euphemisms this case bunch could better be a euphemism for   ^&#@5 load  of raspberries....

(sorry...but it's true)

She had five flats (and a flat, she should be by pouring them out on my porch) fills a bucket and a half. She was selling each flat for 10.00  and by selling I mean hawking, and it was a good deal. The only problem was my jam plans didn't count for FIFTY DOLLARS worth of raspberries. ....roughly seven times the amount sitting on my countertop  at that moment.

But I must confess I was weak to her tactics of intimidation ...if it hadn't been for Kevin coming to the door and telling her a flat out NO that we literally could not take all of her raspberries I feel afraid that I would've caved and would still be stirring my jam pot now, a good four days later.

As it was I spent all of the profits from my garage sale ( a hard earned 30.00) on her flats of raspberries and tried to appease her by taking her phone number and telling her I would gladly come to pick her berries next year at that price... she still walked away all thunderclouds and dejection.

So what did we do after my husband stopped shaking his head at me and the children ate yet another bowl of berries for a bedtime snack???...
well, I'll save that story for tomorrow and assure you that for all the laughter and shaking our heads we did over those flats of berries and for all the mud and mosquitoes... they were
worth it.

And for now  I will leave you with a few last snapshots of our U-pick adventure....

chatting with the farmer from Bio Way Gardens,

...there's that hat again....

A funny side story: At our introduction to the first Saskatoon Farm we visited Ava Grace excitedly pointed to our host and exclaimed "MOM! LOOK A REAL FARMER!!!!!!!" I tell ya, that's how it ought to be for those who struggle to make our food... reverence and awe folks... reverence and awe. :)



  1. Haha! I adore this story Ashley! Thank you for sharing :)

  2. I love the new header and look and makes me want to sit on the swing and drink tea and have a long conversation.

    I can't wait to see you again and introduce Khaira to you. I really did miss our Wednesday visit. Soon! =)

  3. I Love your story too and its funny because I spent alot of time picking saskatoons this week we are taking care of the neighbours yard and trees it so much work , and uncle is loving the pies

  4. I love your new header, Ashley, and your story!! :-) Ahhhh, berry -picking! One of my precious memories of my "Mummum!" Milk pails full of berries,....cranberries, wild raspberries, wild saskatoons....& all the delicious results when she was done with them!!! Your pictures are priceless. Ever thought of photography???? :-)



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