In the heat of the afternoon in mid-July, my children and I persistently picked blueberries and peaches. It was a beautiful day. Perhaps too beautiful, in that there wasn’t a cloud in sight in the endless blue sky. We had come prepared. We had a wagon, two umbrellas, ice water not to mention hats and sunglasses. Everything imaginable to attempt to keep the sun off of us.
However, despite our best efforts there was no getting away from that sweltering heat. I picked the blueberries non-stop, while my children took turns sitting in the wagon under the umbrellas. We could hear the euphony of people chatting in other areas of the blueberry patch. Eventually this ceased and all was silent. It would seem that the sun’s drilling ray’s had chased everyone off, retreating for shade or better yet air-conditioning.
Yet we were resilient, pushing through, despite the uncomfortable humidity. It was as if the water we drank exited through our pores faster than we could drink it. My children had now resorted to pouring the water over their shoulders. I continued to pick as quickly as I could. At this point I had come up with a system to hold the bucket under a group of berries. Then running my fingers over the group I would let the ripe ones drop into the bucket. I didn’t want my children to lose all interest and never want to return to the orchard, so I worked vigorously. As I was closing in on topping off the third bucket, surprisingly, my children were begging me to pick peaches.
Now they had seen the peaches when we arrived. They had asked to go picking for them too. So I had taken the peach baskets into the field with us, but I figured it would be short lived. I reckoned everyone would want to head home after tending to the tedious task of picking tiny blue berries. But here we were perspiring just for being, and they wanted to do more. You see, they had been staring longingly at those lovely peach trees for sometime now, as they were visible from the blueberry patch.
Oh the joys that ensued when I said, “Let’s go!” The three of them took off running for those trees like it was an oasis in this desert heat. Upon arrival at the first trees up they climbed reaching for the highest peaches. Coming down with the sweetest gift in hand… the first peaches that any of us had ever picked.
The sweet aroma of peaches filled the balmy air. Plump, burgundy peaches hung in clusters all along the branches of every tree. The overripe ones scattered across the ground only intensifying the scent.
To my children’s dismay, there was to be no climbing the trees. However, to reach those invitingly stupendous peaches, we were handed a tool. It was a long pole with a basket-like cup on the end with prongs to pull then catch the peaches. This proved to be exciting as a competition developed to see who could get the most peaches in the cup.
Alast our baskets were full. I began to lug the now hefty wagon out of the orchard. At the end of the row there were some beautiful, deep, burgundy peaches. I couldn’t help but stop and pick one last one. I reached up into the tree for a picture perfect peach. I twisted and pulled. Suddenly we heard a loud buzzing sound! At least 10 large bugs came flying out of the tree, headed straight for us! My heart was racing. Were they bees? Was there a hive? My children took off running and screaming like we were under attack!
As quick as they came, they were out of sight. Except one. One had managed to get trapped in the sole empty bucket left in our wagon. Hearing it thump against the bucket’s wall, I cautiously peered inside. There in front of me was not the giant wasp as I had anticipated, but rather a large beetle. With a sigh of relief I called my children back to have a look. Then we shared a good , hardy laugh.
The hike to the car felt three times longer than it had been to get to the fields in the beginning. Our water had long since run out and we were parched like never before. With our rosy cheeks and scorched shoulders, we inched toward the barn. Onced inside we rewarded ourselves with ice-cold slushies and ice cream. These frozen treats have never tasted and will never taste as refreshing as they did on the day we conquered the orchard.
*Note: we picked 13 ½ pounds of blueberries and one heaping bushel of peaches.
Here’s what we made with our peaches:
By Heather 7-19-2020
Copyright © 2020 Heather, The Grateful Heart All Right Reserved