I remember hearing my granny talk about busy work. Well if what I do on a daily basis isn’t enough, now I have added “busy work”. Our farm is blessed with acres and acres of wild raspberry vines. They ripen early July and only last a week, two at the most. So when the berries begin to ripen life just has to take a backseat. We pick and pick until we just can’t pick anymore. Making jellies and canning the juice. It is fantastic. It is a lot of work, but it they are so yummy and delicious. Mom makes fried pies with the berries, my biggest splurge. So today I picked, this was my second day of the season to pick berries. They are just beautiful. Our multiple springs are the main reason our berries are so plentiful, large and luscious. The vines love water, and we have lots of that.
I fed the hogs that are on our mountain pasture and the two mama hogs and their babies. I counted everyone and did a quick check, all was good. As I set out this morning over the steep hillside I thought of my granny Ollie. Whenever I pick berries or work in the garden, or can my garden bounty, I think of granny. I believe she would be so proud of me and the little farmer I have become. She would quarrel at me for working to hard and tell me “I worked hard like that all my life and now look what a shape I’m in.” I heard that often as a young adult. She worked as hard as any human could. In her young adult life she worked at a local sawmill, raised children, grew gardens, picked berries and had a multitude of hard, demanding tasks. I hope one day to be as tough as she was.
So I picked berries, alone on the steep hill, with only the chickens as my company. I had one little red hen that stayed with me all morning. I would pitch her the culled berries and she gobbled them up. I try not to think about snakes when I pick. I am terrified of snakes, and in those dense vines and woods they are a problem. I can’t see where I am stepping due to the vast number of vines and berries, so each step is a step of faith. I just pray that I don’t step on anything squishy.
I can usually pick about a gallon of berries per hour and today I made it out with 3 rounded over gallons and a stuffed hen. The pigs visited me off and on, but lost interest when they realized they were not getting the contents of my buckets. I finished just in time to get all the berries packed into half pint clam shell containers and put into coolers for the farmer’s market tomorrow. It began to storm and the creeks are flooded, so I’m really glad I picked this morning.
With the farm there is little time to do off farm activities. The farmer’s markets are the only days that I like to be away. Things get out of sorts and work piles up anytime I leave. This weekend I harvested 10 frames of honey from our newest hive of bees that I purchased last spring. I was very happy & we have some very rich, very dark honey! Really lovely. It is packed for the markets as well. So that’s it, that’s my busy work for the last few days. Life on the farm is busy work, every day, but some days you have to cram a little more in than others. Now I’m off to enjoy the rain during the evening feedings.