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August 22, 2012: Blueberries

After the blueberries ripen, we generally drop what we’re doing and go pick. We, in this particular instance is usually me, because Pete’s busy with school stuff. Last year, we didn’t pick at all because we had just gotten back from our trip and needed to get the hoop house up. In previous years, I somehow made the time to do this.

In past years we drove and hiked into sites that had at least partially been picked clean. Hatcher Pass is the most peopled, and Lazy Mountain is the most distant. We’ve usually run into other people on our forays. Sad to say, no one is ever pleased to see other pickers.

I didn’t want to deal, and in fact this year was going to bypass berry picking. But last Saturday my riding buddy Vickie mentioned that there was a good berry picking spot in the area between her place and ours. She pointed it out to me that night, on a late evening horseback ride.

Yesterday, Pete and I saddled up the horses and went to check the site out. We didn’t get as far as our intended destination because Siggi nearly went all the way down in a bog. So we instead backtracked, and found a closer patch. We put hobbles on the horses, and then spent the entire afternoon happily filling containers, all the while enthusing about our good luck. It was, I said, a gift from the dogs – an unpeopled site that we could ride to. Pete agreed; it doesn’t get any better than this.

The berries were so thick that they looked like patches of grapes. We got more than our share in short order. However, our picking time was cut short by a small incident – Raudi began racing around and shaking her head – and I noticed her left eye was tearing up. The ground was slightly boggy under foot – this seemed to stress her out further, which was why I suggested to Pete that we call the picking day good. She was fine once we were again on firm ground -- I now suspect that a bug flew up her nose.

Today we decided to again attempt to go to what I called Vickie’s patch, this time taking a more roundabout way of getting there. Once there, we found another lush field. And this time, the horses found a good grazing area. An added bonus was that the sky was cloudless and bright blue. The mountains in the background added to a very picturesque scene.

Picking berries allows for considerable time for self-reflection. Sometimes I mentally trace my steps backwards, and think about the decisions that brought me here, to this particular place, at this particular point in time in my life. It easily could have been otherwise. It was partially luck, and partially good decision making. I might be equally happy in Portland, say, if I owned a house like my sister Eleanor’s. Being happy wherever you are, maybe that’s the ticket. I’m happy here, where secret berry patches harbor untold riches.

Next: 258. 08/23/12: Hrimmi’s Injury