Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Of Fruit and Fish

Summer time in the Dundee was filled to the brim. With many different orchards in the area it seemed that every other week we would be picking a different fruit.
Mom would hitch Jim to our spring wagon and we would go to Grandpa Mast's and Aunt Emma and Vernie would join us. Aunt Emma would sit on the seat beside Mom, holding David and Vernie would join John and me in the back on our blanket nests. Grandpa would give us each a handful of long Timothy grass and we would hold it against the wheel spokes. It made a funny noise as Jim trotted down the road to Gibson's Orchard.
Once we were there Mom would hand each of us an empty peanut butter pail and we would help her pick blueberries, or raspberries. Emma and Mom would pick fast and soon had their pails full and dump them into the berry boxes. John and I barely had the bottoms covered in our little pails. Mom never seemed to mind how slow we picked and would encourage us by saying every berry we pick she won't have to. By afternoon we would pay for the berries we picked and drive home. Vernie, John and I would snack on the berries all the way home.
Cherry picking was even more fun. Grandpa would put several ladders in the back of the spring wagon and then sit in the back with us. Once we got to the orchard he would set up the ladders and Emma, Mom, and he would climb up into the trees to pick cherries. Vernie, John and I would pick everything we could reach from the ground.
Once we got home we would have to pull the stems off all the cherries and wash them and put them in jars. Mom would mix a sugar syrup and pour it over them. It was fun watching as the canning shelves filled up with row after row of fruits for the winter.
We saved a big bowlful to eat fresh. When Daddy came home from work he suggested we pack a picnic supper including plenty of fresh cherries and we could go to Grandpa's pond and go out on their big row boat and do some fishing while we eat our supper. We hurried and packed everything we needed and headed for Grandpa's with our spring wagon.
Uncle David helped Daddy get the boat into the water and helped all of us in and then took David back to the house so we won't have to worry about him tumbling into the water. It was great fun eating our sandwiches as we drifted across the pond. We ate our cherries and tried to see who could spit their pits the farthest. Daddy could make his go an impressive distance, Mom and John weren't too bad at it either, but the only way I got mine in the water was if I leaned over the edge of the boat.
Once we were done eating we settled back to do some fishing. We caught quite a few and decided it's time to head for home. We picked David up from the house, Grandpa came out to admire the fish we caught and gave us a bigger more shallow container to use to take the fish home in hopes the water wouldn't slosh as bad.
On the way home we hit a bump and I put my hand out for balance and happened to put it right into the bowl of fish. They were still alive and felt really weird. I still shiver when I think how it felt!


  1. What a happy memory. I can envision all of it.
    I've never been berry picking but this fall I'll be taking my youngest ones up to the mountains for some apple picking :0)

  2. How fun to hear this story. I've never been berry picking but we had a cherry tree in the backyard growing up and we'd have an annual 'cherry pickoff'.

    I hope you don't mind if I hang out a bit on your blog so I can hear more interesting stories. I'm sort of a junkie that way! LOL! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. Your memories are much like mine. We picked and preserved all types of fruits and vegetables. We rode in wagons pulled by a team of horses or in the sleigh in winter. We picked berries, cherries, apples and pears. Thanks for the memories.


  4. Fruit picking is a great time for sure! Looking forward to our berries, soon, soon!

  5. I Love to read good books and reading your blog is like reading a good story.
    Thank you so much for sharing .I will be back again.
    Elsie <><

  6. Yum! Berries! Picnics & fishing with that is fun!
    Enjoy reading your blog! :-)


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