As a kid, I can remember this time of year very clearly. Harvest Time. The time of year when we would can and preserve everything under the sun. I remember standing at the sink with my Mom endlessly peeling pears, and slipping the skins of peaches and tomatoes for canning. I think she called it slipping the skins to make it sound easier. I remember the kitchen feeling very humid all throughout August because the juicer or canner was going nonstop. She would bottle pears, peaches, tomatoes, and cherries. Turn grapes into grape juice..(I can still see the cheesecloth hanging from our cabinets), apples into applesauce, and dry fruit for amazing fruit leather (which we could have easily traded for Hostess but never wanted too...usually). She would make strawberry and raspberry jam, and freeze fruit of all sorts for pies and cobblers and milkshakes.
These past few weeks that same drive has been pushing me to fill my freezer and stock my shelves. This morning I had to pick up two of my children in Ashland because they had been camping with Grandpa and Grandma at Howard Prairie. I decided that we could pick a few blackberries because we were already near some good picking spots. We drove around for a while trying to find a place that was easy to park off the road and was safe for my kids to pick. Not an easy task. We tried several spots and nothing was working. Finally I found a little spot off a road that is off a road in Talent (not willing to divulge secret picking spot). Spencer soon realized that the best picking was to jump down a ravine into an orchard...probably belonging to Harry and David...serious trespassing. We begin to pick when two of my kids had to go potty. Trespassing and indecent exposure. Awesome! What we had was a gold mine. A fat, juicy, black gold mine. Spencer and I couldn't quit. When we had filled our buckets we dumped out Halley's to refill it with black, not red berries. Each car that drove past made us panic because we were clearly in a place we shouldn't be, but we couldn't help it. The berries were calling our names. We felt like Peter Cottontail trying to pick before Mr. McGregor saw us. We finished picking 22 pints, climbed up the ravine and sped away. Upon leaving we notice a man working in the orchard. Yikes, How did he not hear us? A: He is deaf, B: He was listening to his Ipod or C: He thought everything we were saying was hilarious and made his work less tedious. I choose C.
As I was driving home I had to smile thinking of the ways my mom used to bribe us to pick berries, usually with a 32oz root beer. No root beer bribing here, just pure rush of adrenaline kept this picking crew on the go.