Wednesday, August 31, 2011

first week of school and raspberry picking

The first week of school is a crazy patch work of fits and starts and not-quites, short days and meetings with teachers and forms to fill out and fees to pay. I've been to what feels like dozens of orientation sessions and open houses and met 1,000 other parents and kids whose names I promptly forgot (they all probably forgot my name, too, so it's okay). I'm just ready for it all to get rolling so I can feel like we're in a routine.

Today was Anya's first day of preschool...



...and Daniel's first day of kindergarten is tomorrow. Yesterday was the last day for the kids and me to enjoy our time together before school starts, so I said to the kids we could do whatever they wanted, their choice. I braced myself for a trip to the zoo or children's museum - fine places to visit, to be sure, but also guaranteed to be packed with families cramming in one last visit before the start of school. Instead, my children surprised me with a mutual request to go raspberry picking. I was more than happy to oblige.

We packed a modest picnic and headed down to Sutter's Ridge. It's not really that far from Madison, but driving out on those county roads makes it feel pretty remote. It was absolutely delightful. It was a cool and cloudy morning, and no one else was in the raspberry field but us. (A car full of hired pickers showed up, but they went to a different raspberry patch at the top of the hill, so we were essentially alone.)

This is the view from the raspberry field. See the horses? It's downright bucolic.



Here are my enthusiastic pickers, buckets in hand! The cart is unmanned and works by the honors system. You just stick your money into a lock box. I usually try and add a buck or two extra to account for all the berries we eat straight off the plants!



Finally, the irresistible raspberries themselves.



They were practically falling into our buckets off the plants. We came home with enough for a big batch of jam, some to freeze plain, and plenty to eat for snacks. I'm running out of room in the freezer, but it's still tempting to go back and get more for fruit sauce and popsicles and whatever else I can think of. I'm so glad my kids wanted to spend our special day berry-picking.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

Thanks for the tip on Sutter's Ridge! I'm going to check it out this weekend. Usually we go to Blue Skies Berry Farm in Brooklyn, but I'd like to try something new!

Jessi said...

That sounds lovely. I'm so glad you all had a nice last hurrah!