Friday, July 15, 2011

Red Currants

I got an email from a friend of mine: She has more red currants than she knows what to do with, would I like some? If I come and pick em, I can have em. I thought the arrangement was that I was coming to pick all or most of her red currants for her, and in turn I'd keep about 6 cups of them, which is about enough to make a batch of jelly. For anybody who has never dealt with red currants, they're about the size of a pomegranate kernel. 6 cups takes a lot of picking. I got to her house around 1:30 on wednesday and settled myself on a low stool with my water bottle and an empty ice cream tub (which conveniently holds 6 cups, give or take). It took me until around 3:30 to fill the tub, but it was happy work. Just when the sun started to get a bit too hot a glorious breeze would blow through and dry the sweat that was just starting to peek out of my skin. I had a half frozen bottle of water, Great Big Sea playing in my ear, and red currant juice all over my hands. I hummed and sang along as I picked. I felt accomplished, and useful, and proud of myself for sticking with my little task. For taking the time to sit in that garden, and feel the sun on my face, and put in the time that meant I was helping a friend AND going to get delicious jelly later on. I stopped for a short break when that bucket was full, then came back out with a smaller take out container, and started to pick again. Eventually my friend called me into her kitchen for a delicious dinner of chicken fettucini alfredo. She has that kind of warm, busy, homey kitchen that always makes me feel like I'm sitting exactly where I belong. Having dinner with her and her younger two daughters was really nice. After dinner my iPod and I headed back out to the currant bush. She has four all together, but Wednesday I never moved from the one big bush. I picked until three things happened: I had filled the second smaller take out container, I had picked nearly all I could reach in that bush, and the mosquitoes were starting to become a nuisance. I decided to call it a day. I proposed that I take home the ice cream tub, which left her with two containers that held about as much as my one.
Well, she was flabbergasted. She only meant for me to use her lawn as a pick-your-own farm, she had no idea that I thought I was in charge of harvesting her red currants for her. No wonder I picked so diligently and thoroughly. She insisted that I take home one of the smaller containers as well, afterall, it wouldn't be any fun to start making jelly only to find that I actually had less than 6 cups. It was hard logic to argue with, so I took home the lion's share of the small tart berries. She ended up with about 3.5 cups of red currants, and I had 9.5 cups. I felt good knowing that I had at least picked enough for us each to make a batch of jelly, even if I ended up with most of them. I think once I measure out my currants, I'll give the rest back to her anyways. It just feels so right doing that kind of work, my heart was singing, and while I hummed to myself under the hot sun I dreamed of that famous "someday" when I have a multi-acre homestead of my own. With horses, and rabbits, and chickens and gardens, and just maybe a currant bush or three.

No comments: