Friday, July 17, 2009

Raspberry Picking

Raspberry picking at Sunshine Valley Organic Berry Farm

Holly and I went to Sunshine Valley Organic Berry Farm in Rochester, VT today to pick raspberries. I have been checking the website and calling to check the conditions--and today was perfect. Rob Meadows, co-owner with his wife Patricia Rydle, showed us where to start and you can see him and Holly in the before picture above left--berries on the bush in the center--and the after picture. I did take a picture of all 16 boxes full of the berries we picked--but I must have have done something wrong since it didn't show up when I downloaded the images. I just froze some for the winter and tomorrow will get together with Holly and make jam. It is a learning experience for both of us. I pulled out my big canning jar--which I have only used for natural dyes, and bought a new book on food storage (freezing, canning, pickling, etc.). Last summer I was overwhelmed watching my Vermont friends grow and store vegetables, fruit, and chickens, wondering how they learned these amazing skills, and feeling I could never manage it myself. But now I think, little by little. So raspberries first, and in a few weeks the blueberries will be ready and I can pick, freeze and can them.

Bees at Sunshine Valley Organic Berry Farm

In one corner of the farm there was this enclave of bees. Somehow it reminded me of that famous quilt where the woman had a picture of a graveyard and on the edges were names or markers with names of people, and as they died she would move them into the central graveyard. Mark and/or I walk almost daily in the cemetery down the street from our house since it is such a nice place to take our dog. As newcomers to the town, I don't know any of the people buried there, but I walk by their graves and read their names, and the dates of their death, and sometimes of their birth, and honor their presence, and their passing. Walking the raspberry lanes today was a quiet, private time and I kept thinking each berry was like the millions of people that inhabit the world today. Similar but unique; ripening at their own pace so within a clump of berries only a few could be picked; a burst of joy, and then gone. I hope Rob and Patricia have included the berries that never get weighed into their pricing--the ones that fell to the ground and the ones that fell into my belly.

Blueberries almost ripe at Sunshine Valley

By early August the blueberries will be ripe, and I will return to Sunshine Valley and pick a bucket full. Last summer Mark and I went and we froze most of them, and enjoyed them during the winter. So if I get my jam making down, this year we can have both frozen ones (great with oatmeal) as well as jam.

By the way, I did start work this week. I am tying a silk warp to the black and white tencel on the TC-1. For some reason, it is taking me forever. I am going from the 15 dent reed back to the 30 dent reed. I made a cross in front of the 15 dent reed, and placed the 30 dent reed in the grove above the 15 dent reed, and am moving them from bottom reed to top, by twos, and then tying knots, following color. Somehow my mind keeps saying I am doing something wrong, but I am not sure. I am wondering if I am crossing the ends and when I am all done if I will have to redent because of that? I hope I am wrong since seeing the dents in the 30 dent reed is impossible with my trifocals. Basically I have to wear my glasses to choose the threads, then I have to push my glasses up so I can see the dents without the glasses, then I have to put the glasses back to choose the next two ends. For relief I am going to one of my macomber looms which is threaded with a thick cotton and weaving dishtowels--plain weave with a band of turned twill blocks at each edge.

My garden continues to inspire me every day.

Asian Lilies in my garden

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