Berry-picking is a much-enjoyed summer activity. The kids ask for it when they are in the mood and we head over to a farm and pick as much as we can afford.
While there is this romantic exchange among the kids of living in a farm, all this berry-picking and back-yard gardening is certainly impressing upon them (at least Ana) the hard labor that is involved in producing food for our human consumption. Ana has been asking for a guinea pig, a dog, a few chickens, and a pony. So rather than dismissing it as idle talk, we had a serious chat about what she thinks it involves to keep them and take care of them. Just those handful of animals. And, what sort of work day she expects to have living in a farm, working in a farm and going to school.
Incidentally, both the kids have been asking, Why do kids have to go to school, Mama? Well, that has to be its own post someday. Kids can be home-schooled, of course, but, I think Ana's main concern has been more along What is the point of learning about so many things, Mama? which again is material enough for another separate post.
Anyway, moving on, most of the picked berries get frozen to be enjoyed throughout the coming year. In fact, we just have one last half-gallon bag of strawberries leftover from last year's berry-picking adventure. Some get made into fresh berry pies. Some get made into jams. Some squishy, ripe berries get made into smoothies right away...
We picked my favorite Marionberries. Thorny as the bush can be, it did not deter Og. Shouts of, "I found big black juicy ones here! Come and look, mama!" echoed around the open farm as Og led us to the ripest berries for picking.
We also picked Blueberries. There were two varieties, not sure of the names. Again, Oggie was a much more enthusiastic picker than any of us. It seemed like one could just hold the container underneath a loaded branch and gently shake the branch for all the ripe berries to fall in.
Ana was interested in the golden raspberries much more than the others. They were honey-sweet and quite ripe. Best enjoyed as-is right away.
We didn't pick a lot of juicy red raspberries from the farm this year as our backyard bush manages to provide just enough for our enjoyment for now - a small basketful every few days.
D, our official pie-man, made Marionberry Pie, much like last year. I'll have to admit, he is a much better pie-baker than I am.
We are half-way through summer and am looking forward to the second half. We don't have any specific plans. I am usually torn between offering fun outdoor activities and quieter and more laid-back pace doing what we are in the mood for during summer. While part of my mind strongly leans towards Simplicity Parenting, part of my mind also wonders how that equips my children to cope with a future that today's world is headed towards... There's always a balance that can be struck, and that is what I am constantly working towards, I guess.