In order to have fresh picked blueberries that nobody else has ever touched, you need to put just a little work into it.
Find a spot, plant the blueberry plants, feed em, water em, cover em, weed em...
Filthy disgusting Japanese beetles ruin the fruit with their multiple partner orgies on the berry clusters- chewing/pooping on/ having sex on the fruit. I smoosh them angrily inbetween my fingernails and get a sadistic thrill as the crunching sound indicates that their lives are over.
I learned with two other fields to plant blueberries in rows of ripening time. Berries ripen from June to September, and there must be two hundred cultivars. I pick cultivars according to fruit development time (you need production the entire season to ensure all season long berries).
I also like the medium to larger fruit size because they are easier to pick. After all the work setting it up, I really like to pick each and every berry. People ask me which taste better, the smaller or larger ones, and to that I really have to say that I care not. I don’t eat blueberries politely. I scoop ‘em up by the handful, tilt my open mouth skyward and drop ‘em in then chew and swallow.
Chandler blueberry is by far the biggest blueberry in zee world. The tiny ones are from plants I planted before I became wise to the blueberry way of life. Now these plants are family, but I would never plant them again. Too much work picking them.
The whole reason I have blueberry fields to begin with is because I went to bishops farm over ten years ago with a woman and my child who was three or four at the time.
We got our metal buckets and cardboard trays and entered the blueberry house- a screened in field. I looked up at movement my eyes detected and saw my very first Baltimore oriole- so damn cool!!! It was trapped inside.
Picking blueberries is really easy if you are the first person in the field. That’s when all the berries are easy to pick. The ones on the top and outsides of the plant are within reach. No stooping/bending over/yoga positions required to get at the blue ones.
We would pick the berries and plunk them into our buckets. They would clink onto the bottom of the metal bucket with a “tink” sound. Every now and then one could hear a squishing swallowing sound only to find out it was my son reaching into the bucket to stealthily remove a handful to eat. Tink tink tink chew swallow gulp.
Clink tink gulp.
Frustrated that the only thing we would be leaving with full would be kyle’s stomach, I said “I heard that” loudly when I heard him chew.
Pick/tink/plunk/chew/swallow- “I heard that!”
“I heard that”
”I heard that!”
”I heard that” was the refrain over and over until we picked our way across the field in search of greener pastures and easier picking.
Finding easy picking is easier said than done. At some point I just gave up and resorted to yoga. Bend, twist, contort into inhuman positions in order to pick the berries nobody else wanted to bother with. The ones not worth it. Difficult to see and even harder to reach. Everyone was doing the same thing in order to make all this effort worthwhile.
At one point after an hour or so I looked up and saw that the woman I went with was a row above me and my kid was about ten feet away from me and a few other people near by. I continued picking for a while and all of the sudden I heard a really loud wet juicy and did I say LOUD???
Of course, the only thing In my mind was the fact that that sound must have wafted my way from the woman I came with, so I pretty much yelled so she could hear me:
”I HEARD THAT!!!!!”
Thinking it really funny (though juvenile), I looked up desiring mutual approval and appreciation for my awesome sense of humor, and saw not the face of the woman I went there with but the face of a different woman- a total stranger. Eye contact was made, and we were both extremely embarrassed at our actions, and that there was zero anonymity between us- we each knew each other’s crime! BUSTED!
I felt like shit for totally embarrassing her, but there’s nothing that can nor should be said by the offender in a circumstance such as that. “Let bygones be bygones” someone once said.
The offending flatulent-contortionist picked her way rapidly to the exit, paid for her berries and skedaddled her way to her car parked in the grassy field, never to be seen ever again. The woman I went with left my life also- some crimes unforgivable...good riddance!
But what I’m left with from that interesting experience is this-
You never quite know when life-long stories will pop into your life. Could be when you are doing something important or it could happen when you are doing something totally mundane and ridiculous!
Pick pick pick plunk tink clunk chew smoosh swallow swallow gulp!
I heard that.
Pandora/earbuds/alone time/sad+happy memories...Jack Johnson belongs in our lives. There is something about his voice and his words that stirs the soul and allows the mind to wander back in time to events described in this blog. Ohhh, what I would give to go back in time to that memorable day, scoop up my son and hug him, smell him, look into that child's eyes for just one last time. He is in high school now, and if I tried to do that to him now he would politely hug me back, not at all what hugging one's young child is like.