These are the July weeks when our currant bushes strain with fruit begging to be picked. Kevin planted them 6 years ago at a time when I hardly knew what a currant was. We have red currants which are tart and about the size of a medium small blueberry and we have black currants that are about the same size and are also tart with a hint of pine that mellows when boiled down with sugar. They both are rich in antioxidants.
The black currants have done really well and produce pounds of fruit with the potential for jellies and fruit juice… as long as they get picked.
We have found that picking currants is a challenge.
Our small grove of black currant bushes are situated in the far left corner of the garden right next to a stone bench made from slabs of rock found on our property. Kevin built it the first year we moved here. In winter this bench is a great spot to retreat to. I love how it is set back in our yard and you can see down the gentle slope of the garden, which most often is covered in snow, and across the dirt road to the neighbors hill rising sharply in the distance. Early morning sunrises are the best from this solitary spot.
But smack dab in the middle of the July heat it seems to be where the mosquitoes, deer flies, and the ferocious horse flies meet to have their yearly conference. Last year during currant picking days the scalding heat combined with biting bugs defeated us after we had picked only half the harvest. The birds happily made off with the rest.
I am determined that it will be different this year.
We have enlisted some unpaid labor (well do freeze pops and ice cream count?). The boys have done a nice job, especially when Kevin joins them and they bring out some music. I have also sent the 5 older boys out on a few week day days when things have gotten a little too rambunctious in the house: “OK boys go out and pick currants for 20 minutes”. Many hands makes light work right?
So far our efforts have amounted to about 3 -4 pounds in freezer bags in the chest freezer in the basement waiting to be made into something delicious. We still have about half of the fruit to pick and the boys are getting a bit tired and battle worn at this point.
But when life gives you currants you pick them. It’s not something that can wait till you FEEL like it.
The littlest ones slept in yesterday morning, so without a baby to be nursed and toddler to be fed, I got into the action. I put on some pants and a long sleeve shirt, a hat, and then with the sun shade from the stroller as a mosquito net to protect my face I went out:
The bushes are so full of fruit it really takes a while to get it all plucked off. I feel like I need a cotton gin or something to make this task more efficient. But with none to be found at this point my next best option was to try to armor up to keep the bugs from getting the best of me.
I managed to pick a couple of pints before cries of babies called me into the house.
Kevin apparently needs no crazy get up when he picks the currants, too bad he is busy bringing home the bacon most days and we are the ones with the time for currant picking.
Well wish us luck or send up a prayer for perseverance. Because perseverance is really what we need.
Looks like rain and damp weather for this weekend. The biting bugs will love it. But fruit will only remain for a short while on its vine/bush ready and waiting to be picked. Ignore it and like most fruit in life, it will be gone. So join us, suit up if you have to and get picking!
Any fruit that needs to be picked in your life? Are the biting bugs getting in the way? What will you do to seize the moment, get over yourself and get out there for the harvest?
From the orchard,