Friday, July 16, 2010

My Kind of Drive-Thru


When my late father retired after 38 years of government service, he decided that retirement should be about doing those things you love and have always wanted to try.



So even before he retired, back in 1989, he started gathering woodworking equipment so that he could make furniture.  And having grown up in Michigan, he had a real affinity for blueberries!  He knew all about the health benefits of these little blue berries, but it was the taste and the idea of growing organic fruit that really appealed to him.  So he planted between 40 and 50 blueberry bushes on my grandparent's small farm just down the street from where I grew up.



My grandparents had long since passed away, but they always had fruit trees, grapes, and a huge garden on the property, so I think my father wanted to carry on that legacy with his new blueberry crop.



He and my mother planted several different varieties.  Some didn't survive that first year, while others have slowly waned with each passing season.  The bush above was never a great producer and with the help of that tenacious weed called honeysuckle, it probably won't last too much longer.  And although you can't really tell it from these photos most of the healthy bushes are nearly 8 feet tall!  You need a ladder to pick the berries at the tops of the bushes so we usually let the birds have their fill of those.



Thanks to my sister "M" most of the bushes are free of honeysuckle and blackberry brambles, which also love climbing up the blueberry bushes!  And now approximately 25 bushes remain and are doing well.  Shortly after I took these pictures my sister and her husband arrived to mow around the bushes.  Now that the berries are getting ripe, she and I will take turns each week mowing to keep the weeds and ticks to a minimum!



When my parents were alive, we would all go to the farm, including the grandkids, and help pick the berries.  Then my father and mother would take them to a local farmer's market each Saturday to sell them.



Today, my niece and nephew pick and sell the berries locally.  We weren't sure how this year's crop would fair since we've had so little rain.  And it's still hard to judge since they are just starting to ripen and are always a little sour at the beginning of the season!



Mr. Tide and I used to live in the little farmhouse on the property when we were first married, and later we moved just down the street.  Each morning, on his way to work, Mr. Tide would take a small ziploc baggie with him and drive right up to the bushes and pick himself some berries "to go!"



Not much has really changed, except that the bushes are much larger!  These pictures were taken from our big SUV and you can tell from the picture above this one that these bushes are mighty tall!



During the relatively short season each year we eat our weight in blueberries, resulting in a few tummy aches over the years!  We also freeze lots to use in pies, pancakes, and blueberry lemon bread throughout the winter.  But nothing really beats a handful fresh off the bush, sweet and ripe and ready for the picking!

I wish everyone had this kind of organic drive-thru because it sure is a lot better for you than a fast food drive-thru!

Thanks to everyone who left such sweet comments about Puddin's house, I know she appreciated each and every one of them!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :-)

25 comments:

  1. Gosh, Kat,you could have
    written this about MY dad....
    He retired in 1998 and
    he and Mom built a home
    out in the country in
    Washington State. They
    have wild blackberries
    on the property, but he
    has also put in raspberries
    and blueberries, has a
    huge rose and veggie garden
    as well as a large plot
    for dahlias. He also has
    a woodworking shop : )
    Mr. Privet loves to take
    a bowl out in the morning
    when we visit and load it
    up with fresh berries for
    breakfast! And, we'll be
    visiting, soon....Thanks
    for sharing your lovely
    memories and yummy blue-
    berries! xx Suzanne

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  2. Such a lovely story. We love blueberries too! Ours come from my sister in Northern Ontario. She buys them from neighbours and delivers them (5 hours) the same day. My nephew and his wife, when they were high school aged, saved a lot of their college money picking blueberries. They had more than one encounter with bears, though!

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  3. I'd love to have that sort of drive-thru nearby. Fresh berries - now I'll have to find some today or I'll feel as though I'm missing something all day. A blueberry pie might be nice......

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  4. How wonderful! I am in the mood for some blueberries now!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Enjoy!
    Cathy

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  5. It's wonderful that you are carrying out your father's legacy. It sounds like the whole family does their fair share keeping the bushes growing nicely and the grass mowed! :-)

    Blueberries are my all time favorite fruit, just plain with a dollop of sour cream mixed with powdered sugar {a nice topping from a B&B we stayed at}. I love to buy them from our local farmer's market. Yum!

    xoxo
    Jane

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  6. The red, white and blue berries are so patriotic! Great timing on that shot.

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  7. Thanks everyone! And Anon...good eye!

    Kat :)

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  8. Nice drive thru, and a healthy one at that! You are very lucky to have access to these blueberry bushes each year. I'm sure you send a thank you shout out to your father every year. :-)

    DI

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  9. I can't believe the size of the bushes! Like yours, my dad retired and enjoyed his time in the
    vegetable and flower gardens and with his woodworking. He also had blueberry bushes but certainly not as many as your dad. How very wonderful that you and your sister are keeping the bushes going. Now I have to get my berries from the farmers market and they are very good...but not as good as dad's berries!

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  10. I had no idea blueberry bushes could get to 8 feet tall. The ones we pick from at the cottage are no more than 2 feet tall. Too funny that you can just drive right up and pick yourself a snack.

    I hope you are going to share the blueberry lemon bread recipe as I'm always on the lookout for things to cook with blueberries.

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  11. Such beautiful photographs and what a lovely drive thru! I love freezing them too - there's nothing like a handpicked blueberry mid-winter!

    What a wonderful, wonderful gift your father left to his family.

    xoTrina

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  12. You really should frame that last snapshot of the blueberries. It is perfection!
    Brenda

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  13. I love blueberries! How lucky you all are to be able to have blueberry "drive thru" right down the road!! I love the blueberry pictures-so clear.

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  14. I love to pick berries! I know I would eat more than I saved! ♥

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  15. Ask me how much I love blueberries. I have a cobbler recipe on my blog that is the best I've ever had, and it's easy to make.

    Great photos, and lucky you!!

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  16. I am placing my order for a family of six right now.

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  17. They look wonderful - how delicious! We've always called that kind of eating 'grazing' - used to have wild raspberries behind one place, and always blackberries.

    essence of summer....

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  18. What a wonderful post filled with sweet memories! Thank you for sharing :0)

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  19. This is such a wonderful post full of great memories. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Those high bush blueberries are just perfect for a drive through. Oh they look very luscious, still waiting for our season to kick in around here. Love the images of them right before they ripen. I think it's always so lovely to be able to enjoy something that was originally planted by a loved one that is no longer with us. ~Lili

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  21. That would be cool to just drive up and pick a hand full of fresh berries. I just bought a bunch and have been eating them on my cereal and then I made a cobbler. Yum.

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  22. I just took a block of frozen blueberries out to blend into a drink together with frozen bananas -so yummy.

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  23. This is such a fun post! I would love to do this! I have three small bushes and the rabbits and birds get all of the berries!

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  24. That is delightful! We had raspberries in our last house and every morning, Mister would go down and pick some to have with his granola. Nothing beats growing them yourself!

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  25. What a wonderful post, full of family memories and love. I did see the word "tick" which my family will tell you that I have a slightly obsessive fear of! I do love blueberries however!

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