All choked up!

Written by Chic Country Life

Loving the rural life. Living close to nature with the family and my motorcycle on the Manitoba Prairie.

September 21, 2014

All choked up!

Darn, darn, darnity darn.

Yes, I have been watching the Lego Movie far too much. No, not by choice.

I should have picked the chokecherries three weeks ago. All of the trees were overflowing with ripe berries and the thought of chokecherry jelly had us salivating, but after a weekend of cutting down apple trees, I was just too tired to pick. The boys were urging me to pick the berries, but knowing how they like to start jobs and not stick around to help me see them through, I put it off.

So I left them meaning to pick berries one evening during the week, but the days filled up with other things to do and time passed as it seems to do. Sunny days turned into days plagued by torrential downpours, followed by another weekend stuck indoors. I should have picked them in the rain as my little guy, Dee, suggested.

I just wasn’t in the mood for berry picking. Rainy weather makes me want to clean. I had a light fixture and frames to paint, pictures to hang, and closets to reorganize and after finally seeing the latest issue of The Hub go to press, I wanted to kick back and relax a bit.

I did all those things and while I did the birds and winds and crazy downpours stripped almost all of my trees of their fruit. The trees went from overflowing to barren in a matter of days. When I finally got Dee to help me pick, we managed to scrape together just four measly cups of berries from ten or more trees. Pitiful.

At least Dee had fun. It was cool outside but he is always happy to be out working, especially when it comes to collecting food or playing in the dirt. Both boys monitor all our fruit trees relentlessly and let me know when they think I should pick. Dee’s been trying apples for a month now, “testing” their readiness, regardless of my warnings of sore tummies. He must eat at least half a dozen apples everyday he’s out.

We’ve picked our plums and a crate of apples for pies but we still have six apple trees to clean up, a pear tree and a pile of grapes to collect (if they haven’t been devoured by birds yet). Lots to do and that’s just the picking part.

Then it’s freezing, making jams and sauces and fresh apple juice. We all love fresh pressed juice and even though it takes a while to make (usually several days to use up our apples), destroys our kitchen and attracts all sorts of wonderful bugs into the house, it really is worth it. We’ve even frozen juice for the winter.

Two years ago we made apple wine as we had nine trees overflowing with apples. It’s very light and perfect for cooking with. I wish I could say the same of my grape wine from last year; the only thing it is perfect for is vinegar and even that is pushing it.

Our little orchard produces a ton of fruit and we try to use whatever we can and donate the rest. Sometimes things don’t get used, like our chokecherries, but while we didn’t pick the berries some of our winged friends must have because I was hard pressed to find a single berry on the ground. It still chokes me up that we won’t have any fresh jelly this year.


P.S. Dee and I stopped by a Legion vegetable sale and bought someone else’s homemade jelly. Yummy toast tomorrow!

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