(I almost titled this post “Strawberry Fields Forever” but decided that was way, way too cliche, even for me. So I spared you that–but now you probably have the song stuck in your head anyway. Sorry about that.)
There’s something about waking up incredibly early that always inspires me to venture out. Most of our adventures seem to come about when I’ve been up at an unreasonable hour for some unreasonable reason. (See our woodsy walk or Miss Mamie’s for examples.)
This morning I woke at 4:14 a.m., no reason except that Elvie Kate had slept all night and my body decided I didn’t need any more sleep. I had set my alarm for 5:00 so I could drink coffee and watch the sunrise (I know that sounds crazy but it’s my favorite part of the day.) 4:14 was a little too much, though. I tried to go back to sleep, but no, my body thought I was just being greedy and I lay awake until my alarm went off and I gave up.
The morning was foggy and beautiful and the sunrise through the mist was lovely and my coffee was warm and comforting. The days have been cold and rainy, here, but today was forecasted to be warm and sunny like May should be. I decided there on the front porch with my comfy coffee that we would go strawberry picking.
One of my most favorite perks of living in a tiny Kentucky town is the proximity to so much agritourism (a fancy word that means fun farm stuff.) Now we only drive around forty minutes to an apple orchard (vs. an hour and a half in Atlanta), just a few minutes to a dairy farm with homemade ice cream, and not one but two U-Pick berry farms that are only three or so miles away.
I had assumed I would go by myself, but it turns out my mom was able to go along with us, which is good because there are lots of things I can easily do with four children in tow, but I learned today that strawberry picking is not one of them. Three of the four are just too young to do it without very close supervision–otherwise known as kind of picking the strawberries for them. We had fun, though, and the day was beautiful, and I’ve got plans for strawberry pie in our future, so it all balances out.
I gave the kids a pep talk as we drove in–no eating the strawberries in the field. That would be what?
“Um, I don’t know,” Ephraim said.
“I dunno,” Clive echoed.
“Dondon,” Anselm echoed the echo, as is his wont.
It would be stealing, I told them. We have to pay for them first. I put Elvie in the Moby and got everyone out of the car, then Mom and I gave them their little containers to put the strawberries in. I took the opportunity to give one last set of instructions: only red strawberries, not pink ones or white ones, and do we eat them in the field? Noooo, because that would be what?
“Um, I don’t know,” Ephraim said again.
“Steeealing.” Clive said solemnly. Anselm was looking out across the field and not paying attention.
GrandMaggie (my mom) took over the supervision of Anselm while I led the other two boys out. It was interesting work, trying to take pictures and help find strawberries and continuously pat Elvie Kate on the bottom while she cried, until she finally let out a huge burp and then settled in with her pacifier. We knelt in the dirt and talked about what fun it would be to be a rabbit loose in all these wonderful strawberries, and every now and then Ephraim would watch the other pickers, then whisper to me with concern, “Mom, those people are eating the strawberries.”
“Mom, I’m not eating them, I am smelling them.” Clive said.
We got these fun red boots because we’re spending a lot of time outside in the chilly wet early mornings, and we needed a better option than flip-flops for handling cold and wet. Plus we’ve been listening to our Winnie-The-Pooh audio books a lot recently, and Christopher Robin has waterproof boots and, in the words of Rabbit, So Had You.
Is there anything better than bright red strawberries in a charmingly aqua container on a bright sunny day? Maybe the strawberry pie that Ephraim is harassing me to make.