It's Pickin' Time!

Way back in the day, I was more ambitious than I am now. I keep telling myself that I had less kids then, and was able to get more done, but myself just thinks I'm now a slacker in comparison. So I'm trying to redeem myself in my own eyes and pick up some of the slack that I've allowed to fall by the wayside. Like food preservation.

The year Josh was born, I made homemade jam. I'll never forget it. EVER. I had a 2 year old, gave birth to an 8 pound baby, and my mom called two days after I was released from the hospital to say that she picked an abundance of strawberries and would I like to have some to make jam with. The frugal in me jumped all over free strawberries and joined forces with the country girl in me who was raised to preserve foodstuffs for winter, and I had no defenses left to fight off the pitiful cries of "but I'm just exhausted from giving birth less than a week ago." So I made strawberry jam, even though I had no clue what I was doing. I was dead on my feet, I'm pretty sure I followed directions, and I made enough jam to last an entire year. That was also the year I canned enough pickle relish to last us for 3 years but that's a story for another day. Clearly, giving birth in the midst of a heatwave while suffering with the flu addled my brain. I'm still trying to recover. And Josh will be 15 in a few weeks.

That jam was the best tasting stuff ever concocted. I made it for a few years and then I went back to store bought, and the kids have been reminiscing about "the good stuff" ever since. So when Sam called from work to tell me that he found a pick-your-own-strawberries farm, I got a little excited. We woke up early Saturday morning and drove to the orchard.

We each had a wooden tray that held 6 baskets, except Micah who was to help the rest of us fill ours. But he insisted on having his own tray, so Becky took a quart basket out of it and went to work. Micah picked strawberries like a champ. For 3 minutes. That was about the time he realized it was a lot of work. I mean, all that bending over, and the actual picking part, and then the effort of tossing them into a basket. It was just so much to ask of him. But he didn't want to look like a slacker. He mostly spent his time walking up and down the rows, carrying a full tray of empty baskets.

But then the boy got really smart. He'd snag Becky's full quart baskets and trade her an empty one. One by one, the baskets on his tray were magically filling up, and all he had to do was keep an eye on Becky's progress. Sheer genius. It's also a good thing we weren't counting on his help to make any kind of quota.

When all 4 of our trays were filled, we headed back to the barn to weigh and pay. It was then that I remembered why I stopped making that super-yummy strawberry jelly. My checkbook cried when I forced it to hand over $69 for fruit, and cried again when I remembered how much Sure Jell and sugar I'd have to buy for $69 worth of strawberries. But hey, we'll have the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches EVER, so there's that.

1 comment:

JennyH said...

I love Micahs idea of picking strawberries. I'm pretty sure Max would be the same way. Wowzers.. $69!! I hope that jam is darn good!