Tuesday, November 22, 2016
There is a little known fact about myself that I will share. I’m certain it will come as a surprise, and I probably shouldn’t tell tales so shocking in nature. Here it is: I don’t like to harvest things. I’m not thrilled with picking raspberries, especially EVERY 3 DAYS without fail as is the custom here at the farm. I don’t like to pick strawberries, apples, blueberries, cherries, etc.
This comes from my early years. As a child, I, along with every other child living in the Willamette Valley in the 1960’s, was sent to the fields by our parents, to pick berries and beans for the local farmers. There was a cry from the farmers for labor, and the parents of the 60’s obliged. Rest assured, this is not a thing anymore, but when I was growing up, all of us kids were involved in this form of “child labor.” There were buses that picked us up and took us home. If the bus didn’t run in your area, there were parents who carpooled kids out to the farm. It was a good reason to dread the summer months. I suppose it did provide a source of income for some, but the small pittance I earned, didn’t quite make me the millionaire I had my sights set on. For the farmer I am, this activity didn’t grab my soul, and somehow, this feeling of impending doom hasn’t ever really left.
Please don’t misunderstand. I do pick things. I’m an adult. I do it because I have to. I might have mentioned my distaste of crop harvest to my dear Dad. I am quite certain it was both a shock and heartbreak, but he is a smart man. As he played out the summer scenario I do believe he understood the next part of the story:
I like to preserve things. I love to can. I like making “concoctions.” Our freezer is full of bags of ice cube sized things like roasted red peppers, tomatillo sauce, pesto’s of various origins, as well as bags and BAGS of raspberries and freezer jams. On the shelves, are my stores of canned applesauce, pears, pickles, relish, jams, jellies…….and the list goes on and on.
We have reached détente. Fruit, and possibly produce, appear and I deal with it. There are times when the timing of my side of the bargain is not, shall we say, convenient. But at this point in time, the harvest related activities are mostly over, so I’ll allow myself the grace to forget some of the more stressful situations that may or may not have occurred. (And, I will assure you, they did occur with an alarming frequency.)
And so, another season comes to a close. We all survived the harvest, perhaps not unscathed, but a nice spoonful of blackberry jam on that piece of toast while sitting by the fire, might just make it all worthwhile.
Peace to you as you watch the leaves drift to the ground.