Thursday, August 22, 2013

Peaches, Rainy Days, and Berry Picking

Several days after we moved in, we went on vacation to the Outer Banks.  What used to be a very short drive became an eight hour drive.  It wasn't so bad on the way there, but coming home I was solo with the kids - hubby had to go back by the old house and do a little maintenance work.
So, what do you do on an eight hour drive with two little ones?  Stop at least once an hour for potty breaks.  Cry as you drive through your old town, glad your little ones are sleeping and don't need to stop for yet another potty break.  Run around in random, open lots you find near gas stations.  And then, finally, after the first five hours, you reach the peach orchard for a LONG stop of picking peaches, running around, and eating peach ice cream.
We needed this break - every single one of us!
We stopped at Chile's Peach Orchard outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.  It is incredibly beautiful there.  The mountains are gorgeous, the air is less humid, and there were peaches galore.  We've also visited their partner cherry and apple orchards, loving every single one of them for all the same reasons.  There was something about making back into the mountains that helped our souls and settled the kids after the first long hours in the car.
Woah, mama!  SO many peaches!  This was the kids' first peach picking experience, so I gave them a quick lesson on which ones are ripe and which ones need more time on the tree.  They quickly went to work picking after that and filled up our bags in no time.

Yes, Töchterchen, that peach is perfectly ripe!  She got the hang of peach picking much more than any of the berries we've picked.  I think maybe she liked seeing more progress while picking.  Sometimes with the berries, it takes so long to fill the basket and at age two, that's too disappointing!  This was not the case with peaches and she was the most eager harvester among us.
 We arrived home late Saturday afternoon and even though the apartment didn't feel like home when we left, it felt like home after all those hours in the car.  I think that was so beneficial to us mentally.  Vacation was fun, but it feels so good to walk through the door to "home" afterwards. 

Sunday was a quiet day - filled with more projects around the apartment, grocery shopping, and unpacking.  Later in the afternoon a sudden downpour sprung up and the kids discovered the most delightful thing!  When it rains hard enough we get a small creek through our backyard.  They were so excited to put on their rain boots and stomp through the water. 

This is a good shot of the garden and hillside behind our apartment.  We love that even though we're in an apartment, we do have this outdoor space right out outside our door.
By Wednesday of last week we were settled enough to start exploring our surroundings - and not just "explorations" to the hardware store for additional fix-it items.  We went to the local berry farm that is on the way to my parents' house.  After having to drive an hour to blueberry and blackberry pick, we all loved that we only had to go about five miles to reach this farm! 

We started with raspberries and had high inspirations of picking lots to freeze.  However, raspberry picking was slow business on this particular day (maybe it's always slow?) and we finally made it through one pint before calling it quits.  Mannchen and I enjoyed it, Töchterchen however, was over it before we even made it halfway through said pint.

I am still in disbelief that we are blessed enough to live in such a beautiful place.  So many times in the past two weeks, I've paused to look around and just be thankful.  The berry farm was no exception.

After raspberries, it was on to blueberries.  This went much faster and we were able to gather a pint in no time. 

We also discovered and abandoned bird's nest while picking!  I think this bird moved onto a more quiet tree once berry season started!

Again, the beauty here is breathtaking.

Before leaving we also picked a quick pint of blackberries.  Hubby was on campus studying, unaware of our adventure, so we were very excited to surprise him with freshly picked berries!
Our days are slowly transitioning back to a more regular rhythm.  We need it so, every single one of us.  We spent much of last week going new places - the berry farm, walking to the farmer's market, running errands, the grocery store, and so on.  We are settling into the parts of our week that will be different here - Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoon walks to the farmer's market for groceries - and enjoying re-finding the parts of our week that will remain the same - painting on Monday, Baking on Wednesday, and so forth. 
Next week hubby will start classes and life will settle down even more to it's predictable rhythm that is so comforting.  After a wonderful summer, filled to the brim with adventures together as a family, we are looking forward to crisp fall days, a slower season filled with coziness and home.  Each season brings with it its pleasures and comforts and for that we are so grateful.