What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, July 18, 2011


I didn't do any u-pick strawberry picking this year...what we grew in our strawberry patch was what we got. I just couldn't stomach the u-pick prices this year. A sacrifice, really, since we have no strawberries left from winter.

I figured I would make up the difference with huckleberries. (Huckleberries are much like blueberries except they are much much smaller (and more flavorful). And they happen to grow by the hundreds, at my in-laws, where the u-pick price happens to be FREE.

But this year, a late hailstorm knocked many of the buds from the trees at flowering time resulting in a VERY. BAD. YEAR.

Nevertheless, without strawberries OR blueberries to brighten up meals, winter will drag more slowly and drearily than it already does~ so I had to TRY.

Saturday, we headed to his parents' place. Of course, once we got there the mobile children all vanished. Grandmas take grandchildren swimming and hiking, you know. So much for many hands make light work.

Matt started splitting this years firewood supply so I plopped Judah in a portapack nearby and to the buzz of the chainsaw, I went picking.

If you duct tape a bucket to your middle, you have both hands free for the picking.

Whereas in previous years you can grab handfuls of berries at a time, this year you could pinch only one or two at a time. It took for.EVER. Judahbear, as usual, was a gem. He was content to watch me and play quietly until he dropped off for a nice nap.

Gary, my father-in-law, said he figured I would only find about a pint worth. I came out with about 6 quarts.

Matt eventually took a break from the wood to grab a few handfuls for me too. That was nice.

But next year, I am going to put my foot down and say "pickin' before swimmin' ".

(( I never can or jam our blueberries. Instead, I prefer to freeze them. Then, throughout the year I toss a few frozen ones into pancakes, quickbreads, muffins, smoothies or put on top of yogurt for a fresh 'taste' of summer. Flash freeze them by putting them on a cookie sheet, freezing and THEN bagging them. Thataway, they don't stick together in huge globs once frozen!))


Bonnie said...


Bonnie said...

Oh and I replied back at my place

stephaniegiese said...

We are also in PA(York) and our strawberry prices were pretty good $1.98, but the blueberry prices were crazy! Over $5 a pound! No better than the grocery store, really. I got lucky, though, and my grandmom bought a 10 lb bag from a charity fundraiser & gave us a bunch of her blueberries. :)

Michelle G said...

One year when we went picking - the "u -pick" place had gallon jugs - you slid a belt around your waist and slipped the handle of the gallon jug (they had cut a large large hole by cutting off the pour-spout on the gallon jugs) onto the belt - we LOVED it because they hung on either side of your waist (like a gun-slinger) and you could pick with both hands!
we are "harvesting" mangos, bananas and avocados here these past few weeks. YUM! I would have thought your berries WERE mini blueberries :) "look kids baby blueberries!" lol

Tracy said...

I was blessed to have 9 gallons of our own strawberries this year, and we've picked/frozen 5 gallons of blueberries. It does make the winter brighter, as you said. I freeze mine too, just as you've described, and I'm already using them.

Miss Williams said...

Yum! I've not had fresh huckleberries yet, but as I like blueberries those sound delicious. What an ingenious way to carry your bucket. When picking blueberries, we cut off the top of a milk gallon and slip a belt through it.

Domestic Accident said...

I grow our own blueberries here in Maine and your huckleberries look just like my blueberries. I don't know that I've ever had a huckleberry. I guess it's going to have to go on my bucket list.

Enjoy. There's nothing better in the winter than dipping into the freezer for some summer sweetness.

Anonymous said...

Your Judah's surprised expression always make me wonder what new hing he is discovering and what goes on in that little head of his for him to make that expression. Babies are so amazing.

Rebecca said...

Huckleberries are the wild cultivar of blueberries, I believe. Blueberries have just been 'domesticated' and made to grow nice and plump. :-)

Tracy~ that is incredible! What delicious fruit you have set aside! I wonder how many strawberry plants you have to produce that much? We have over 40 plants and got enough for us to eat right up but not store up.

This year for us, we get to live like people HAD to for centuries~ seasonally. :-) These lesser years makes us more thoughtful and thankful for the abundance of more fruitful years.

But enjoy those berries for us! ;-)

Tracy said...

Rebecca, you aren't going to believe this, but it's the truth. I bought 12 plants, yes, TWELVE, at the flea market last year for $6. We planted them all in a 4x16 raised bed. My friend, who grows berries to sell, told me I should have only planted 4 plants in that size bed, and paid too much for my plants, to boot. Her plants/berries rotted from an overly wet spring, and mine were absolutely beautiful because the water drained from the raised bed. HA! She wasn't laughing at my harvest, to be sure!

Leah said...

Love the braids.

abigail said...

We just picked free berries last night, and it feels SO good to put them up, thinking of the winter muffins and pancakes and shakes that await. Since becoming a wife, I've been more thankful and aware of the wonder of freezers than ever before. In the past, we'd only be able to enjoy berries dried instead of plump and juicy in mid-December. What a gift!

Hurrah for exceeding berry expectations! Take that, hail.