Summer calls for children to be found outside playing. Today I will share with you an equally important ingredient in a child’s life, torturous physical labor.  By torturous let me explain my son’s idea of torture.

Blueberry picking day for us comes but one day a year.  Somewhere around the 4th of July each summer, luscious blue balls of heaven ripen and beg to be plucked from their branches. The day starts very early for us, rising at dawn, our goal is to beat the other blueberry gatherers to the prime picking spots.  Equipped with the essential blueberry gear; water bottles, hats and the all important bug repellent, we head off in search of our treasure.

When we arrive at the blueberry farm we are greeted with a scene of sublime pastural peace.  Row upon row of blueberry bushes trail back into the woods.  A pink and silver sunrise is the backdrop for a pasture dotted with grazing horses.  The air is cool and damp.  It is a promise of a glorious Indiana day.  To my mind this is not the scene of a torture chamber.  But alas, my son is already complaining and we’ve yet to put our fingers on one blueberry.

The first blueberries are designated for one purpose, breakfast!  There are few things better in life than plopping ripe, dew covered berries into your mouth. YUM!  We are free to eat all we want, and we do.  Eventually the sound of berries being dropped into buckets replaces the sounds of munching.

My friend Laura and I have picked blueberries together for years.

The wonderful thing about blueberry picking is that there is no stooping involved.  God was so considerate to create a bush that offers up such a wonderful treat right at eye level.  The work is not hard and today the air is cool and bug free.  Tell me please, how is this horrible?  You would think my son was digging ditches in 100 degree heat.  That just may be an option.

Summer time and each season should be filled with activities of the season.  Our children need to experience life outside of their self imposed, air conditioned prison.  At first they may complain.  Based on my own son, I’ll guarantee they will complain.  But these activities are the things that enrich life.  They are childhood memories.  They will not remember what game they played or what movie they watched, but they will never forget picking blueberries, jumping in piles of fall leaves, building a snow fort or running around in a spring rain.  Life is outside and no matter how they whine; we must help them to live it.

My son will tell you that blueberry day is the worst day of the year.  I rate it as one of the best.  It will turn out to be a wonderful memory for him one day.  One day he will realize that it was not hard work, and he will yearn for the taste of dew covered blueberries.

No matter how they whine or complain, compel them to take part in the joyous work of life.  This is not the hard labor they think it is.  This is the easy stuff.  So head outside.  Pick some berries , and if they whine too much, I do have some ditches that need digging.


I’ve loved sharing this oldie but goodie. My son mentioned in this post written many years ago is now 22 years old. He still runs screaming when he sees a blueberry. 😉

Blueberry picking has been a wonderful family tradition. Last year, the patch we always picked at closed down. I literally cried. Life changes all too quickly and our children grow at the speed of light. Please don’t skip the berry picking or any other summer tradition because of being too busy. Seize the moment! Enjoy each day! Pick those berries!

4 Responses

  1. I loved getting to experience this with you last year! Raspberry picking in your yard this year was enjoyable too. 🙂 I hope it becomes an annual tradition to pick berries every time we come in the summer!

  2. How well I remember picking blueberries with you and the kids! It was a joyful day for this grandmother as I picked (and munched) my way through the rows of bushes. And of course I also remember that when everyone’s buckets were full to capacity, Jared’s harvest barely covered the bottom of his pail! Lovely memory, Debbie. Thanks for the reminder.

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