05 September 2011

Simple Summer Activities - Berry Pickin'

We have lots of berries growing around our yard, and picking them is one of Kaia's favourite things to do. Quite a rewarding activity, I guess. ;) The first berry that comes ripe at our home is the wild strawberry. We have tons of them, especially around our playground. It's a good thing, too, because they are tiny. This doesn't bother Kaia, though, she happily spent whole days picking strawberries. They may be small, but they are pretty sweet and juicy.

This is the biggest one we found all summer! It is massive, in comparison to its wild neighbors, anyway. :)

Kaia crawls through the sand, looking under leaves for the little bright red fruits.

She filled bowl after bowl this summer.

Which she then brings to me to wash and remove stems and leaves, a task that frequently takes me about as long to do as it takes her to find and pick them all.

And then she shares them with her baby sister, who loves them oh, so much, as well.

The next berry ready to pick and eat at our house are the cherries.

We bought and planted this little tree last Spring, and we already got quite a few more cherries this year than last. I can't wait until it gets bigger and Papa and I get to eat some of those cherries, too! Yes, the girls eat them all.

I love to watch her little hands carefully brace the branch and pull the fruit.

Katalin wasn't sure what she thought of them at first, they were still a bit tart when Kaia started picked them. She kept on eating them anyway, though, and had really warmed up to them before the cherry season was over.

Kaia simply loves them, sweet or tart.

Next, the raspberries ripen. We have both golden and red raspberries, although I was surprised to find that I apparently did not take any pictures of the red raspberries. Kaia is taken with them enough to brave the prickers and wade through the bushes to pick raspberries, whether she is in jeans, shorts, or a bathing suit!

The golden raspberries have a lighter, more subtle, flavour than the red. They are both sweet and delicious!

When all the strawberries, cherries, and raspberries are gone, we still have blackberries by the bucket load. I can't even imagine how many of these things we ate this Summer, with plenty left over on the plants to seed and feed the wildlife as well.

We used them to make popsicles, icecream, and pie, and to top our yogurts, cereals, and granolas. We still have a couple bags of blackberries frozen, and quite a few dehydrated as well, so that we can enjoy them during the Winter, too. There is nothing quite like opening up a little package of Summer when you're covered in snow and bundled in sweaters.

Kaia found a HUGE blackberry that she paraded around all afternoon before finally eating it. Here she has a blackberry of average size for us in one hand, and her monster blackberry in the other. She was very impressed.

All those berries are gone now, until next year, but the abundance of choke cherries we have are starting to drop their deep purple fruit. I've not had them before, and had always believed them to be poisonous. I was surprised to find out that, while the pits are indeed poisonous, the fruit itself is not, and is supposed to be very tasty. I can't wait to gather them and see for myself! I'm having visions of fruit leather...

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