Yesterday morning dawned clear and cool as we made our way up into the Blue Ridge Mountains just north of the Virginia border in search of cherries. We finally found a parking spot on the side of a mountain (it's a popular picking destination) then we gathered our buckets and made our way first to the tart cherry trees.
Over the next 2 hours, this was the sight of our children, faces intent, through cherry tree branches.
Finn enjoyed his first picking-from-a-ladder experience. He only climbed too high once or twice in his search of the perfect cherries.
We were joined by friends, who also have 4 children, filling our buckets and filling their tummies.
Well, our littlest troop was along for the ride, although Finn kept offering to pick a cherry for her to eat as well.
The picking was ambitious at the beginning. Isn't that the way it always goes?
So I mostly snapped photographs and enjoyed the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Eventually, there were games like drop the cherry into a friend's bucket.
And how high can we go on these ladders.
The littlest ones decided they needed a rest from the picking and the eating.
So we headed up another hill to find the sweet cherries.
These trees didn't have ladders so the kids had to climb in and find a perch to pick from.
Elizabeth and Max perched in the same tree for nearly an hour and came down with 25 cherries, proclaiming they didn't need lunch.
When it became clear that we weren't going to get any more picking from the children, we took a break for lunch.
We spread out our picnic blankets right in the middle of the orchard.
Then we headed back into the sweet cherry trees, where Max and Elizabeth didn't even pretend they were picking. No buckets! But the rest of us managed to finish filling the remaining bucket and we headed home with happy, and very tired, children.
Now to preserve all of those 35 pounds of cherries that we picked. I'm sure I'll have an update in the next few days, but I have lots of work ahead of me in the meantime!