JUNE had such BERRY good reasons for picking raspberries!
It's Summer!!!...how I just LOVE summer!!! And this Summer of 2014 has nearly zoomed by me as we traveled southward several times already this year. So, I was kinda holding my breath while waiting to see if there was going to be any time to do my usual JUNE activity- the picking of Black Raspberries. I shouldn't have worried though, because due to all the excess snow from that awful-never-wanna-go-through-another-winter-like-THAT-again-anytime-soon Winter 2014, plus all the extra inches of rain, topped off with extra-humid, hot days Indiana has had - before & after - June 21st (the 'Official' 1st day of Summer)... well, I'm rather surprised we haven't been purple-blotched to death (remember 'The Killer Tomatoes") by those VERY large Black Raspberries lurking around along the roadways, creeks, and just about anyplace where other kinds of plain old weeds grow.
My earliest memories of picking Black Raspberries are of being with my Maternal Grandmother- for whom I am named (we shared the same middle name). I spent alot more time with my Gr&Gr Raymer than most normal kids spent w their grandparents because my Mother was single with three older children aside from me. So I spent my weekdays with them on their farm before going into Kindergarten at almost 6 yo in October of 1971. So I can remember picking raspberries with her when they lived on the farm up in Fulton County, and in the patch that grew in the backyard on the grounds of the home they purchased in Logansport when I was 7. That property had been the home of a boy who was in my 1st grade class, and I excitedly told him "My Grandma & Grandpa bought your house!" which caused him to burst into tears. Our Teacher had to explain to me that he was sad to be moving away; leaving his school and all his friends there. Little did I know how soon after that, and how often, I was going to end up moving myself. My Mother had just married a man whom she was destined to leave and divorce, but he ended up being the man whom I was destined to keep as my Dad- and a Grandpa to my Sons. So during the years to come, my Grandparents' Logansport home and all the gardens full of flowering trees and fruits became my sanctuary. I ended up mowing that sanctuary each week as a teen for my Grandpa (my first paying job with help from my Dad who made sure to drive me over there each Saturday morning to slave away a good 3 hours for whole $5 while he relaxed chatting with Gr & Gr over coffee) and I loved helping Grandma pick apricots, strawberries, garden goodies, apples, pears, and black raspberries. She'd always have some vanilla ice cream for us to sprinkle the berries on top of for a snack. I made sure my own two boys got to know their Great-Gr&Gr Raymer and took them with me (often having time when my ChiefHubby/their Dad as working at his paying job, church or Fire Dept work, or finishing homework from his Seminary 2yr education) making time to walk them through the then-dwindling gardens. Over the years, trees & vines die, and end up being cut down or torn out. The garden Grandpa kept became smaller as he got older, until he no longer kept one at all. The grass grew back, and trees that previously gave copious amounts of good fruit, began dropping wormed fruit because noone was spraying killer in anticipation of a harvest, nor harvesting. My visits became entirely inside-the-house talks with Grandma or with Grandpa inside one of his 3 connected garage/woodworking shops he'd built himself over those years. We'd even have the boys get Grandpa to help them cut their Cub Scout Pinewood Derby cars each year just to savor working with him in his woodshop the same way I did while growing up.
In 1987, after our first 3 years of marriage living in a rented apartment in the bottom half of a very old house situated on one of the two main thoroughfares dissecting the city of Logansport, David and I took the plunge to purchase a home (this same home 27 yrs later) in a subdivision of an area where I'd lived and attended school during all those moving-around years my parents were doing. I ended up having to stay home after our second Son was born, and thus began my walks around the Lake here
to introduce our kids to GOD's beautiful creation of the outdoors! By the time they were 9 & 6, and in school full time, the visits to my Gr&Gr's house - as well as theirs out here to us at least once a month as we all could - it'd been awhile since anyone had picked any berries together. David & I tried ekeing out a garden here, but the land is clay on our property, and is better used to MAKE BRICKS with. *sigh* But, that summer our older son, Brian, was headed on to the 4th grade, and he was offered his first paying job by a neighbor down the road. So, that first afternoon of no-school/all-sun-summer-days, he'd dutifully gotten up early, rode his bike down to the neighbor's house, helped dig, remove brush, set bricking in to form a wall, then flew home on his bike with his first pay in hand, just in time for lunch. I saw him coming....and then flying PAST me...with......PURPLE???.....covering his hands and the bottom half of his face. He'd yelled out (my kids grew up with my deafness, so they are pretty darned good at helping me hear what they say to me): "GOIN' TO GET MY FRIENDS!! WE'RE PICKING BERRIES!!!!"
Ahhhhh!! So. Young-Older Grasshopper finally learn Black Raspberry secret. ;) And he had alot more on his FACE than I think made it into the bowl that came home with him from that neighbor's house. But, like his Mommy; he'd learned about how to pick berries from someone other than his own parents. PROUD MOMENT for Grasshopper Mommy. :D
And the RE-start of what is now my 17th consecutive year back at picking. Our Grandma Raymer went Home to JESUS - and her little boy, Gilbert Dwight - in January 2003. And Grandpa just followed JESUS to go Home finally, in March of last year (2013). Within those same years began a long, hard road of illness...and somewhat recovery - with the help of a handful of meds 2x a day, plus shots & 'immunity-killers' on Monday nights. Each time I fill my bowl, I know Grandma Raymer is smiling and I am thankful to both of them for filling my LIFE - and my HEART- with so many GOOD things all around!
As of earlier this evening of July 2nd, I filled what will be the 7th gallon bag and placed it along with the 6 others alongside the bags of SHROOMS from my earlier hunting escapades. I still had 7 cups of black raspberries leftover which will make a nice double-layered huge pie with some BLUE vanilla ice cream to melt on top of for a Red/White/Blue dessert for the cookout/swim we are having on July 5th for our ChurchBuds&Besties and their fams. While there are still TONS of the berries all around our area, I am simply out of time for picking. The ChiefHubby will be off early as of tomorrow and that will begin his Summer ShutDown Vacation- including our planned Anniversary Bahamas Cruise with these same Buds/Besties mentioned above. Plus, I still have a few photo blogs....With lots of cool pics... & less TYPING! lol...that I would like to share also. I've always felt that being a Homemaker in itself is a CRAFT that requires alot of detail and attention to creativity in EVERYTHING. Cause it's the little things that end up counting the most.
THANKS FOR CHECKING IN AGAIN !!! See you next time, and Happy Blogging!!