The job can be hot
and sometimes disappointing.
But you get to be out in the woods.
You get to listen to the birds sing.
You get to see wildlife and other odd things.
As I was picking and swatting at gnats [I fooled them by putting on a head net!] I started to think about how we did it when we were kids.
Oh how much I hated getting up before dawn [was it really that early?] and trudging with Grandma through the dew dampened woods.
I can't recall if we walked or hiked to the spot, but probably not. I'll bet mom drove us there to save time. I can remember picking and getting wet. I recall the berry briars sticking to me and grabbing my shirt and scratching my arms and hands.
I'm sure there were bugs and skeeters and I think we smelled like OFF and wore bandanas tied over our heads and ears.
However the past few days of berry picking have been different as an adult. I haven't gotten up before sunrise.
Gone is the lard pail and twine that is replaced by an ice cream bucket with a hole in it just big enough to drop berries into.
I still wear the bandana over my ears and sometimes use a head net to ward off the bugs.
But it is on my terms and there is no hurry. Yesterday I hiked through some rather thick and over grown woods to get to an area where I thought the picking would be great.
As I slowly wandered up the old hill road, I would find 5 to 10 berries on a bush. I picked only the shiny ones. I left the over ripe and slightly under ripe ones alone. I am a picky picker. [Say that 3 times fast.]
I listened to the small waterfalls below me in the valley. I listened to the birds. A warbler was singing its haunting and beautiful song. I could identify a cardinal, a wren, and mourning doves.
I thought about kids these days who can't seem to do anything without earbuds blasting music into their ears. And then I thought what a waste it would be NOT to hear everything going on around me.
The wind picked up a few times, blowing gnats away and making the tree leaves 'sigh'.
I was concentrating on picking but also enjoying everything that was going on around me.
After hiking and picking for 2 1/2 hours, I'd come up with about a quart of red and black wild berries.
So why would someone put that much effort into picking wild berries?
Because even if I hated it as a kid. As an adult it was a nice quiet way to spend time in the fresh air [and gnats].
And I found a rather interesting tree.
I call 'him' the Grumpy Man Tree.