Forgot to tell you that at the beginning of July we went cherry picking. There's nothing quite like picking a few pounds of cherries to make you feel closer to the land. You feel thrifty and adventurous and old-fashioned. You also feel thankful that you are able to go to the store at any given moment to buy the staples you normally eat. There is nothing quite like picking a few pounds of cherries to remind you how much work it is to feed a family year 'round on what you are able to harvest.
Lois enjoyed the outing quite a bit. She happily picked and ate her way down the line of trees. Quite different from a week later when we went blueberry picking, when she shoved her hands in her pockets and would not even touch a blueberry to eat, let alone pick. It was a hot day for blueberries, but I think of her as a fifth child, and the other four children were happily picking blueberries, so I don't know what the problem was then.
Back to cherries! This is the second year we have gone to Lehman's Orchard in Niles, Michigan and it's a pleasant place to go. They only do sour cherry u-pick, but it's worth the trip for us. We now have enough in the freezer for some pies, cobblers and a little jam making. We could go and stay all day, but with children and elderly, the attention span lasts for about an hour and a half. So we go, pick a little, have a snack, and head home. It usually satisfies the country living bug (or should I say kountry livin'?) until the next fruit is in season.
The best part of picking cherries, though, and I think you Hanna's will agree with me, is the cherry pitter. They pit your cherries for free! The pitting machine is this massive, noisy beast, run by a young teenage boy and it fascinates all other boys in the room.
This boy upends your freshly washed bucket of cherries into the maw on the back, turns it on, and with much clanging and groaning the cherries roll across the wheel, as metal rods pop the pits out. All the cherries fall into you bucket and you are free to take them home. An incredible process.