But this year, for some reason, I've had an urgent desire to expose my Small One to nature. I enlisted the help of a green-thumbed friend and have been cultivating a sweet little vegetable garden. We've gone to pick strawberries TWICE. I spent almost a week in the mountains, 20 minutes from the nearest shopping center, and while I won't call that mountain house "roughing it", I will point out with considerable pride that I was the one who insisted that walking in the woods be part of our mountain experience. Seriously- I could happily have spent the entire time watching TLC, playing in the hot tub, drinking mojitos, and eating cookies and steaks in the absolutely modern kitchen, but no! I only spent 95% of the time doing those things, and fully 5% walking up and down mountain paths! Maybe even 7%! (Hey, those "Jon & Kate plus 8" and "What Not to Wear" marathons were NOT going to watch themselves, people.)
I digress. Anyway, in my quest to give my girls more natural experiences, I planned a trip to a "u-pick" blueberry farm a couple of weeks ago. I researched it rather thoroughly, picked a website that said blueberry picking was open as of mid-June, and even attempted to call and verify.
Here's what their outgoing message said:
"Hello, you have reached This and Such Farms. We're unable to answer your call at the moment because we're either out in the fields, or perhaps helping another customer. However, your call is VERY important to us. If you'll leave your name, number, approximate time of call, and a message, we'll get back to you just as soon as we possibly can. Crops available at our farm at this time include..." BEEP!
Now, maybe I'm just an impatient big city type, but wouldn't it perhaps be more logical to list what's available before you spend the rest of your time explaining what you might be doing and leaving detailed instructions on how someone might leave a message? I'm just saying. And it should be noted, as well, that I did, in fact, leave a message and my message was a rather urgent request for verification on the whole blueberry picking thing, but I did not receive a return call. Bah!
Yes, you guessed it. I drove two hours, teenager and two-year-old in tow, and arrived at the farm to find that they had no blueberries available for guests to pick. This was a major disappointment, as you can well imagine, but I'm really a "when life gives you lemons" kind of a girl, so I actually wouldn't leave until the nice ladies at the farm gave me some alternative activity that would justify driving that far and to that remote a location.
They did, offering a tour of the farm, and I returned to the minivan putting an entirely different spin on it, in classic "mom as cheerleader" style... "HEY! Guess WHAT, kids?!?!? We don't have to pick blueberries, but we can BUY them, and in the meantime, we get to LOOK at the farm! Whee!"
Luckily, they went for it. It was a pleasant, though not very informative, tour, as it was led by a volunteer who clearly has no idea what the farm accomplishes or why it exists. I did buy some lovely produce. Ironically, this farm brings the exact same produce to a small market 15 minutes from my HOME, but hey! This way we also got to pet some goats and watch a gigantic turkey scare the dickens out of Small One.
(He was rather intimidating, once he put his mind to it!)
While I was buying the produce, (and I shall never admit out loud how much those blueberries cost me, but the were the best blueberries I've ever eaten), the girls went back out to see the animals again, and Middle Child took pictures. Say what you want about dear old Middle Child, she is a very loving big sister, and a pretty good photographer as well.