Harvest is over.
Praise the Lord and cue the Hallelujah chorus. The berry crew picked their last load on Tuesday night before this crazy heat wave, and we met Taylor out in the field on our way home from camping as he brought in some of the last crates. It was late, around 11:30 p.m. Emmett and I had had a rough trip home from Triangle Lake, I was at my wits end, and all I could think was I had to get to Taylor. We pulled into the blackberry rows and peeled our sticky bodies out of the hot car. Still hot at 11:30. I handed Emmett up to Taylor in the cab of the big, old berry truck, climbed in and slammed the creaky old door. All three of us sat in the dark and in the quiet, and just took a collective deep breath. It’s over. We did it. We’re done.
The berries themselves were much nicer than last year quality wise, but there was a whole lot less quantity wise. It’s crazy how much farming can change from year to year. We’re learning more and more every year about prices and packers, markets and weather patterns. It all feels overwhelming at times, but it sure seems like by the end of the season, everything has a way of leveling out somehow. And even though it always feels long in the middle, it really did seem to go by quickly this year. In and out in a blaze of glory. I think the crew took two nights off from picking total, which means over a month of our farmer working seven days a week. He’s my hero. And he’s really, really tired.
I wasn’t sure Emmett was going to get to ride the pickers this year, since they usually start right about the time he goes to bed, but after a four hour nap the day we got home from our fishing trip, I figured we could push back his bedtime a bit. We threw on his Carhartts and I grabbed my camera before we headed out in to the field, and I’m so glad it worked out because I just love these photos. That little guy likes nothing better than tagging along with Dad at work, and I think Dad might like it just as much. What a way to grow up! Stuffing your face full of giant, sun-kissed blackberries, riding machinery through the fields at sunset and hanging out with the best Dad in the world.
Right when we got there the crew was having a meeting and before realizing that his Dad was in the middle of a circle of about 50 people, Emmett walked right up to him saying “see Dad!” with great enthusiasm. As soon as he said hi to his Dad, he turned around and realized how many people were watching him and made a beeline for my arms, feeling quite bashful. It was really sweet.
The next few weeks are still pretty busy around here, lots to clean up and fix up before getting put away in the fall, so we aren’t quite ready to relax yet. But it does feel real nice to have the night shifts behind us. Although having the nights to myself was definitely nice at times. To not have to worry if I didn’t manage to get everything done during the day, and have a few dark, quiet hours in the evening to tidy the house in peace, or watch a show, or read a book. I’m not sure what it was- experience or overall contentedness, the late, shorter season perhaps, but this year just felt easier in general. I was ready for it when it came, and other than a few grumpy days, I’ve felt pretty good about the whole thing. Sure it’s been a lot of work, and we’ve really missed having Taylor around, but it’s such a short window of time in the big picture and I just really believe in what we’re doing here. It’s felt really worth it this year.
And I don’t think I could possibly brag on my husband enough. He took huge steps forward this year in responsibility, knowledge and most importantly, confidence, and it has been such an absolute JOY to see him feeling so good about his work and himself. I’m so stinking proud of him. And he’s worked literally night and day for over a month, while still managing to be a really great Dad and husband, and never letting his tiredness curb his enthusiasm for spending time with us. I’m so very grateful for that especially.
Here’s to another year on the books! A few more busy weeks, and then the trip of a lifetime to ALASKA!!!!