As we prepared to leave the farm for a few days on Friday, July 22, I could see that over the weekend the cherries and raspberries would ripen. Grandson Jack helped me swath the little pie cherry tree in netting to protect the fruit from the birds. I also tried to protect the raspberries, but I couldn’t see that the birds were very interested in them.
So, all the following week – July 25-31, I picked both cherries and raspberries every day. The little cherry tree is quite young (planted in the spring of 2010), so I was delighted that this year’s yield was enough for a pie. Each day I cleaned and pitted the cherries, then added them to a freezer box. The last picking was Wednesday, August 3 – just the remaining few cherries – and I tallied 7 cups. The birds didn’t bother the cherries badly. Perhaps I picked them a bit on the under-ripe side.
Now the raspberries were wonderful. I picked about two cups a day and some of the berries were huge and beautiful. In past seasons, I’ve picked about half a cup a day during the peak. Last fall, Hallie helped me prune the bushes and at her encouragement I added some fertilizer this spring. I also think the brambles liked the cool, wet spring.
Each day I gently washed my picked raspberries and dried them on a towel. Then I spread them on a cookie sheets in a single layer and put them on the “quick freeze” shelf for an hour. Then I measured two or three cups into bags for the freezer, eventually accumulating seven bags. And of course, that doesn’t count what we (especially I) devoured. Mike says he doesn’t care for the seeds, so we’ll have to see how we use them -- perhaps a sauce or pie filling. The patch is still yielding up a few berries.
In the raised bed, I’m picking zucchini and yellow squash. In the tires, I have saucer squash, carrots, and acorn squash. Frankly, I’m not hopeful they will bear due to late planting, but they look pretty anyway.
And the iris bed was so packed I just had to dig them this year. Iris anyone? These are the kind you see on country roads rather than the kind you see in catalogs with big, fancy heads. And it’s hot by 10:00 a.m. now, so I’m not really enjoying that work, but it has to be done. I’m finding I have more work to do in the cool of the morning than I can accomplish. Oh well -- we complained when it was cold. KW