Posts Tagged "vacation"

Berry Happy

Posted by on Jul 21, 2011 | 6 comments

Berry Happy

Like all moms, I’ve been struggling to keep my children occupied over their summer vacation.  Unlike the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, however, I’ve also been dealing with rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Every single day.  In biblical proportion.  We’ve had the occasional burst of sunlight, but rarely enough to enjoy for a full morning or afternoon, let alone make plans around.  Our new city is overflowing with amazing parks, beaches, playgrounds with water features, and wondrous natural sights to behold, but most just aren’t that fun when you’re drenched.

(I know, we moved here and we should expect rain – but we’re not completely used to it yet, and seriously, it’s rained a LOT this year.)

Basically, my point is my entire summer strategy has been put on rain delay.  I had hoped to run them ragged daily at the playground and spray parks or in our little backyard splash pool.  I envisioned sun-drenched children happily dragging themselves to bed each night, drunk on outdoor play.  I did not plan for a Junuary rainmageddon.

I took this photo June 13th.

Instead, I’ve been keeping them sane with arts and crafts, trips to the indoor playground (ok, Daddy takes them there while I recharge), and copious amounts of Dora and Diego.  Yes, my children have watched a lot of television this summer.  I’m not proud.

Today, when the rain stopped unexpectedly, we decided to go pick raspberries.  We have already picked strawberries twice and raspberries on two other occasions, but all of those trips save one have involved me picking solo while Daddy watches the boys at the farms’ playgrounds.  The one strawberry picking trip we tried with the kids resulted in Kieran throwing every berry he picked, Lennon eating every berry he picked, Jack analyzing every single berry for ripeness before picking three, Daddy overseeing everything while stating periodically that he is “not a farmer,” and me stooped over gathering berries madly while trying to keep my camera out of the rain (yes, it rained that day, too).

Not a lot of picking happening here.

We have been exploring the many farms in our vicinity, and decided to try a new one this morning (mostly because their raspberry u-pick price was the best).  We gauge a farm’s “awesomeness” on several things, mainly their ability to entertain the children.  I was on a mission for berries today, though, and put savings ahead of my kids’ happiness.  I figured if worst came to worst, they’d learn how to pick raspberries.  What could go wrong?

Of course, today’s farm had no playground, no petting zoo, no silly pictures of anthropomorphized berries they could stick their heads through for photos.  It was just a farm, with fields and some porta-potties.  And some wagons.  We grabbed a wagon and headed into the raspberry field, visions of raspberries dancing in our heads.  Actually, I had visions of my children red from head to toe with juice and screaming from pricking their fingers on the bushes, but I didn’t share those fears with my husband.

The raspberry bushes we encountered were taller than David, so much to his chagrin I put a bucket in his hand and set him to work on the highest branches.  Both Lennon and Jack had buckets, and Kieran was master of the wagon.  This scenario did not last long.  David picked a handful before abandoning his post, Lennon picked loads of gorgeous berries that only saw the inside of his stomach and not his bucket, and then he and Kieran fought over who got to run us down with the wagon.  Eventually, in the interest of actually taking some raspberries home, I told David to take the younger boys back to the parking lot to play with the wagons.  Jack stayed behind with me to pick, and pick he did.

Getting the hang of it

Once he understood how to pick the ripest berries, Jack was fully into the task.  He analyzed them, pulled gently, and tucked them into his bucket.  At one point, though, he got a little carried away with telling me how he was picking them and stopped actually doing it.  I grabbed a big, beautiful berry he had missed and said, “Jack!  You missed me!  I want to go in your bucket!”

He loved it, and jumped right into the game.  He talked to every single berry he encountered, and had quite the conversations.  Some berries were ready to be in his pie, some wanted to swim in his stomach.  There were whole raspberry families, cousins and friends.  The unripe ones he had to leave behind, “because they’re still babies,” he promised to come back and get when they were ready.  Jack didn’t pick a ton of fruit, but he did pick happy fruit.

A job well done

We finally filled all of our baskets and buckets and started back to the pay stand, Jack pulling the wagon the whole way.  He was proud and excited about what he’d done, and made sure to tell Daddy all about it when we returned.

Old enough to do the manly work

As we drove home, I expected him to be sleepy and ready for his nap, exhausted from his great endeavor.  Instead, he wondered why we hadn’t gone to a playground, too.

How many days left until school starts?

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