"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Cherry Picking Time

The temperature when I woke up this morning was around 75 degrees with a steady comfortable breeze blowing.   It seemed like the perfect day to be out in the orchard picking the cherries.  

I made my peach cobbler muffins and some orange juice then got the kids up and dressed for the day.   I then went outside to feed Cocoa.   The temperature was now 80 degrees and the breeze was coming in frequent bursts.  

Gran and I packed up the kids' bikes, a few blankets, some snacks, a diaper change for the baby, and plenty of water and gatorade for Gran, myself and the kids.   Then we headed out to the orchard.   It was now almost 90 degrees and there was barely any breeze blowing at all.   The humidity was up to 80%.   From there my day went like this:

I got Gran and Youngest settled in the yard out at the barn.   I unpacked the bikes, blankets and snacks/drinks.   Middle took off like greased lightning (does anybody still say that anymore?) on his bike to see Peanut.   Oldest and I went off to the cherry trees to start picking.

Oldest found the tree that she wanted to work from and I found my tree.   Unfortunately ALL three of our sour cherry trees are right smack in the open sunshine.   Needless to say, it was HOT.   Anytime you are out working in the heat water and gatorade or some other electrolyte drink are a necessity and will quickly become your very best friends.   I've seen way too many people forget to stay hydrated and get very very sick as a result.  

Most of the cherries looked pretty good and there were a fair amount of them on each tree, which is much better than how our sweet cherries turned out this year.

In case you are wondering, those are plastic grocery bags hanging from the cherry trees.  The sunlight reflecting from the bags and the movement created when the wind blows helps to scare the birds away from the cherry trees.

Unfortunately, it's been hot enough and wet enough that many of the cherries started to spoil almost as soon as they ripened. 

I picked a total of two full buckets worth (Oldest pooped out after a half bucket and went to ride her bike).  Then it was off to other chores around the barn.

The first on the list was feeding the cows.   This is Herman.   We usually don't name our cows but Herman is a special case since he had to be bottle fed from birth.  He was heading for a drink of water in the cow barn when I snapped this picture.

Then we checked the silos.  Two of the three are, fortunately, almost completely full which is nice since we probably won't get the corn planted this year because of the wet weather we've been having.

Then we had to work on the small tractor.   Apparently something about the transmission was off, don't ask me what...I'm not great with farm machine mechanics.  I'm simply there to hand my husband and father in law the tools that they request.

Then it was time to feed Bluebird.

Afterwards I had to coax Middle off of his bike so that we could go and look for his missing flip flops and, after about 20 minutes of searching, they were found and we were headed home.

After a long, long day at the barn it was time to set up the cherry pitter.  It's old (about 100 years old) but it does the job.  I like it much better than many of the new ones, mainly becuase it's made out of a sturdy metal instead of glorified plastic AND because it pits two cherries at one time instead of one like most of the new pitters I've come across.

I got all my pots and pans set up for the process.

The whole process of pitting the cherries took about an hour and we ended up with 9 total bags of cherries.  Each bag had 4 cups of cherries in it.

One of those bags was destined for cherry pie tonight which will be our Sunday dinner desert tomorrow and the other 8 bags went into the freezer.

After it was all said and done I was utterly exhausted and I had so much cherry juice splattered on me that I looked like I was the victim of some horrific act of violence.   A warm bath, my bed and a good book are calling my name.