“Prize the natural spaces and shorelines most of all, because once they’re gone, with rare exceptions they’re gone forever. In our bones we need the natural curves of hills, the scent of chaparral, the whisper of pines, the possibility of wildness. We require these patches of nature for our mental health and our spiritual resilience.” – Last Child in the Woods
We haven’t yet spent a full Spring here in our new home, so we were extremely surprised to find not one, but two gorgeous cherry trees full of ripening fruit in our apartment’s garden! Not only that, but they were totally organic, nobody having sprayed these trees or even bothered with them in any way for years. They were so, so full of ripening cherries, and extremely healthy… no pests or damage of any kind!
The harvesting time lasted around a month total! We went out daily and picked to our hearts content. Curiously, none of our neighbours were very interested in having fresh cherries, so we had both trees to ourselves. Truly though, there was enough ripened fruit on these trees to provide for the entire neighbourhood.
After dinner most evenings we would head out and pick the cherries and bring them in to be washed and pitted, eating them together on our kitchen floor or on our balcony. Margot really enjoyed this quiet rhythmical end to our days, collecting and enjoying a delicious Springtime dessert together.
Once we were at the peak of each cherry tree’s ripeness, we went down in the mornings too and brought in as many cherries as we could hold. I had to quickly decide what to make with all these cherries though, aside from eating our weight in fresh cherries each day!
I decided on cherry pie of course, and my first attempt was quite a success, despite missing half the ingredients the day I wanted to bake it. It didn’t turn out particularly beautiful, but it’s taste more than made up for it. I’ve had cherry pie before, but I’ve never had something as good as what we made ourselves. Fresh cherries make all the difference! Also, my second attempt turned out even better. I’m pretty proud of my hardwork doing that lattice crust. I haven’t attempted doing so in probably ten years.
Margot started off cherry season unable to pick the cherries from the tree successfully, nor able to pit them properly and eat the fruit. I had to teach her, and after a week or so, she became a little master cherry-picker and cherry-eater. She could quickly pick the cherries from the low hanging branches, and then carefully dissect them and spit out the pits, claiming the reward of fresh, juicy cherries for herself. I would be off picking and filling my basket, and come back to find a small pile of cherry pits at her feet, her basket empty, and juice streaming down her face and hands. This is what childhood days are made of! She’s become so proud of learning these skills this Spring. It’s really lovely watching her figure out something new and then have the independence and ability to act on her own. It brings her a wonderful, visible level of contentment.
There was such an abundance of cherries this Spring, so much so that I filled my freezer with as many as I could fit. We have over 22 pounds/10 kilos saved! Many cherry pies ahead of us. There were so many more on the trees too. I wish I was set up to harvest and freeze more, but as this was a surprise fruit tree, I had no preparation time. I’ll have to see what I can get set up by next year though.
There were many, many happy mornings and quiet evenings spent sitting out together under the cherry tree this year, in the warm glow of the sun, picking and snacking away in the soft breeze. And underneath those swaying branches of the trees, I discovered a newfound appreciation of “season”; the arrival of certain joys in their own time, and their present appreciation until they depart, and the hopeful anticipation of their return once more. Gratitude is far deeper for things not readily available, and for things that have their own short season. Anticipation is sweet. The present moment is everything. I so look forward to the years to come, as we can await the coming fruit to harvest each Spring together. So many happy memories behind us now, and ahead of us yet to be formed too.
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.” – Last Child in the Woods
This is part of a Little Woodlanders series! Also check out…
- Little Woodlanders: an Introduction
- Spring: in the Garden
- Spring: at the Park
- Spring: in the Forest
- Spring: Wildcrafting Herbs