Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strawberry Fields Forever


Friday was our first day of summer vacation, officially.  And since we have all kinds of camps and whatnot coming our way, I wanted to do something special with all three of my boys.   I look at our calendar, and we have a really full summer.  Not overly full, per se, with multiple things a day everyday, but there feels like there is something going every day.  Then I heard that Spencer's U-pick-it farm was open for strawberry picking. Their season was running a little late, we usually pick at the end of May.  This year it coincided with the end of school. It was perfect for taking all my sweetboys.  Evidently, all of Hamilton County thought the same thing.  The crowds were insane.  Still, we were able to have a wonderful experience!

All my sweetboys sunscreened up and ready to go pick some strawberries! 

My sister and niece Annie were off from school too, though it was Charlie's last day of preschool, so they decided to meet us at the farm.  However, they got there a lot sooner than we did. We were delayed by having to run a semi-emergent flush for Chris, and pack lunch, and partridge in a pear tree.  Since we were running so late anyway, I offered to call my Mom and pick her up on the way too.  And she came! So that by the time we all got there, Annie and Lisa were almost done picking.  They had quite a lovely haul of berries. 

Annie dressed herself to go berry picking. 
Apparently, one needs a leotard, tights, and tutu to pick berries. She objected to the t-shirt and sunscreen, but her Mama prevailed!  

These were the Tastiest berries. 
Nice and warm and sweet, we could taste the summer sunshine.  

This was Jacob's first trip to go berry picking of any kind.  So I stood him in the aisle between berries, and he said, "Oh Wow."  Oh wow is what he says about everything.  
Then he got mad at me.  
And stood there.  He didn't want to walk.  He's new to the concept of walking, in shoes, and in grass, the concept of walking on both distresses him.  So he just stood there and yelled at me.  I got picking.  
He saw what I was up to, and kind of looked interested.  

He began to check out some of his surroundings.  
He reached out and touched the leaves. 
 Chris and Sam were initially spooked to reach down between the leaves, thinking about that poem they'd learned at school, "Leaves of 3, let them be.", that we had been reinforcing while camping last weekend.  
I tried to explain there wasn't poison ivy in the strawberry fields, that's why  the hay was in the middle of the aisle, to keep the weeds out.  See, if Jacob touches the leaves, and a. I let him, and b. there's no problem, then it's ok for them to do so. 

They were pretty happy just picking berries from the edge.  
The berries were just dripping of the bushes/vines, whatever, there were a lot of berries.  

We had to taste them to make sure they were ok,
you know, For Science.
Chris was the first child of mine to tuck in. 
Annie and Lisa had some serious staining going on already.  Annie's tutu was tasty toast. 

Sam was a superchamp picker...and taster. 

Sam figured out very quickly which berries were the good ones for picking, the ones with no green or white.  But occasionally, we all had to make sure. ;) 

I was picking berries by Jacob, and ended up giving him a great big juicy one.  He had sat down, not entirely of his own will.  It was more of a coordinated fall, he was not remotely happy about sitting on the hay.  I knew this one was too juicy to make the trip home, it needed to be eaten. Jacob had never had strawberries, so I let him have it.  If he ate it, great, if all he did was play with it, that was great too. 

He was mad at me for giving him the berry.  
He tried licking at the stem, repeatedly bringing it up to his lips, then deciding he didn't like it.  
But it wasn't until his thumb accidently pushed right through the juicy berry flesh that he realized what he had. 

Then it really started getting messy.  
His fingers started to get red, there was juice dripping onto his shorts.  
Good stuff there. 

Then he tasted it. He was intrigued.  He didn't mow down the whole thing, just kind of kept putting his fingers back into the berry and touching various parts to his mouth, very tentatively.  But every time I got close, he'd start crying and yelling at me.  

This was the only photo that I was able to get of all three of my boys.  
They were really enjoying themselves.  

Nana is an old pro at berry picking.  
She had to be fast to keep up with all these grandkids.  

My boys had a great time playing with Nana, berry picking and what not.  

He's mad because his strawberry was disintegrating in his hands.  
He was done.  

So were the kids. We picked for maybe half an hour.  Not much more than that.  

We had a Beautiful haul! 

Those are some beautiful berries.  

However, the crowds at the farm were crazycakes.  It was 30-60 minute wait to check out.  So while I changed Jacob and nursed him, she ran and got our stuff weighed.  Unfortunately, Annie "done lost her mind" so Lisa handed off all her berries to some stranger that was just coming for berries,  and left.  So they didn't get to keep their berries.  That's ok, I gave them some of the spread I made.  Anyway, there are no trees or shade in the fields, so my Mom came back to the car and played with the boys for a bit while we switched off, and I hurried up to wait in the heinous line to check out.  I got a sunburn just standing there, for my 5 1/2 pounds of strawberries.  I wouldn't have had to wait as long if I'd had cash, but only slightly less line.  It was still gross.  The staff however was so apologetic, it was hard to hold it against them.  They were unprepared for the crowds.  They called it a 'Perfect Storm', being that the season was so late, the weather so gorgeous, and so many kids were out of school. Yup.  That's why we were there!  They said they had Never seen it so crowded.  I believe it.  I hadn't either.  But still, my berries were good.  My kids had fun.  And so did I. 

So I'll be back next year.  

After berry picking, we went to lunch with my Mom to a place called Brunchies up in Carmel. 
I had a wicked turkey rueben she recommended.  The only thing truly reuben-y about it was the rye bread.  There was turkey, and swiss, and cole slaw drizzled in thousand island dressing.  It was wicked, I don't even want to know the calories. I called the day blown with that sandwich alone. 

Then we took Nana back to her house and played a bit in her yard, taking some pictures before heading back to our house.  

The boys decided they could climb the tree in her front yard. 
Only, the tree was too tall, so they climbed a bush instead.  

Jake couldn't wait to climb it either too.  

All my sweetboys. :) 

I should also mention that Friday was also Our Anniversary.  That's 16 years of Marriage for Eric and I.
So, as a gift to him, I arranged for Daddy and MB to watch the boys while Eric and I went to dinner.  
Before we were going to leave, Eric presented me with a bouquet of roses.  16 beautiful roses, one for each year of our marriage.  He does this every year.  And I think, every year, I'm surprised.  I know, silly.  He also got me a rose bush, Queen Elizabeth, and a Russian Sage plant for the garden.  And our last goodie is a squirrel proof birdfeeder.  

A picture of some of our pretty haul.  

So we took the boys to my Dad's for their dinner   - cheeseburgers, and to watch The Jungle Book on the big screen.  Eric and I drove into Greenwood to poke around.  I couldn't decide on if we wanted to go to the Thai Spice, Roscoe's Tacos, Don Pablo's, or Cheesecake Factory.  We decided on Cheesecake Factory.  And as we walked in, we saw that there were a few folks eating outside.  We wanted to do that too.  It was a Perfect evening for it, in the low 70s, sunny, and a cool breeze.  Much better for us to enjoy while sitting in the shade.  We split thai lettuce wraps, and i made a big mess, and we split an apple streusel cheesecake.  I also got some fish tacos, I've been craving them for weeks.  I'm putting fish on the grocery list, so that we can make some fish tacos at home!  With corn cake, Eric got a side of some sweet corn cake that was so fabulous, I wish I had some too.  We stuffed ourselves silly, and had more uninterrupted conversation (Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!) then waddled next door the Barnes and Noble to mosey around the bookstore. Alone. In the quiet.  We hadn't done that in years.  We hung out in the travel section and cooking section and daydreamed.  But we were so stuffed I couldn't stand anymore. My brokey toe was acting up after the day's activities. So we went back and hung out with my Dad for a while.  Apparently, the kids were really good, hilarious actually.  Jacob only cried for a few minutes before chilling out (Oh Wow).  They ran the kids around, and Jacob stood in the grass for 5 minutes, not moving.  We got to take them home and put them to bed.  A pretty sweet deal.  Indeed a happy anniversary for us.  Much better than last year.