Sunday, July 28, 2013


There is this delectable corner of the world where all is tranquil.  Acres upon acre of the ripest, bluest, most oversized blueberries you have ever seen.
It is my annual visit to the patch.  It is a ritual I gladly perform this time every year.
Well, maybe not gladly.
I arise at 4:00 leave at my designated 4:30 a.m. departure.  
Friends have come with for the first time stating that "this better be worth it Gail"
I assure them they will not be disappointed.
Off we go, tea in tow, awake from our slumber, asking ourselves, "this really is worth it, isn't it?" Driving in the dark down the interstate, we coast down the road, only to come to an abrupt stomping of my brake to avoid the collision of a deer and my windshield!  Whew!  Impact averted.  Awake now, the rest of the drive was uneventful.
My anticipation is palpable as I turn off the interstate, and start to follow the signs to our destination....Cains Orchards.  We have now been driving for one hour and 45 minutes!  Many think me nuts to drive "all that way" for blueberries.  Awe, but these blueberries are golden.  The best ever.  No grocery store could ever match their size and freshness.  They are huge!  Almost the size of a quarter!  And taste...all i can say is YUM!
So, we get there, winding our way through the dirt roads to the picturesque valley ahead of us.  The cars have already starting converging, my friends in awe at the gathering of people already here before us.  It is jaw dropping just to see it.
 "Where do we park?  Where do we pick?,"  my patch struck friends beseech me.  I simply reply, "i know what to do!"  So off we park and gather our belts and buckets and get into the patch before the bell rings!  Yep...the best way to pick is with two hands.  You tie the bucket around the belt which then goes around your waist.  Looks pretty dorky, but everyone does it!   Genius!
 Awe, the bell.  The old fashioned sound that resonates throughout the patch, letting pickers know that the plucking has now commenced.  It is 7:00 a.m.  Cannot pick before that bell rings...not ever...ever!    Laughter and the sounds of blueberries banging the bottoms of buckets as hands feverishly stockpile the golden nuggets two, sometimes three at a time into their possession.  "I can't believe how big these are" states an enthusiastic elderly  man.  "I got some" were the excited sounds from a child.  I couldn't help but think of what this will be like to bring a grandchild here sometime in the way off future.  It is great to hear the grandson with his grandmother sharing in this delightful memory.
It doesn't take long, and a bucket is filled.  After a couple of hours, the buckets are brimming and it is time to pay.  The lines are long, but they have this part of the process down pat.  It is a well oiled machine.  Quickly we get through the line, our stomaches full with the healthy can eat all you want while picking!  Irresistable.  We meander our way through the crowds, fill up the trunk and are on our way back home ready to freeze these babies to enjoy throughout the winter months.  It is worth every minute of lost sleep!

Enjoy the video of this wonderful region of WI.  Go if you can.  It is a great adventure.                  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

travel by car

Road trips can be educational.
They can make you delusional as well.

Educational in the sense that we can stop along the route and get out and view historical sites and see the scenic overlooks around each bend in the road.

Delusional in the sense that driving is such a great idea compared to flying.

Driving  hour upon hour, staring at the blacktopped, seemingly endless road in front of us, our eyes becoming hypnotized by the yellow stripes passing by second after second.  
No longer is the food in the cooler sounding palatable.  It is going to be a long ride home.

It's about 1/2 an hour into the drive, and we get bored.  So we eat.  The crackers are stale and the pop is warm.
The nearest exit baits us with the fast food picks.
The original recipe grabs us and we order all things abominable for our nutritional intake,  complete with the colossal soft drink.
With utensils in tow, we do the in the car!
Spills ensue, along with food crumbs falling between the seats, but we are saving time by not eating inside!
The delusion continues..

It doesn't take long and the colossal soft drink has worked through the pipes and it is time to find a rest stop.  The sign blinks rest stop in 2 miles.  Whew!  We can wait 2 miles.  Upon reaching the coveted stop, the signs reads...REST STOP CLOSED.
Closed?  Yep.  The delusion lingers!
Bemoaning our dilemma, we look ahead and see a gigantic sign...TRUCK STOP.
We wonder..should we?  could we?

The drive is now in its about 5th hour.  The car is now a fast food pit, complete with smells and uneaten french fries.
We have played all the games, including looking for the license plate from farthest away;  guessing what is in the fields...  arguing over whether it is beans or barley;
Counting the deer; memorizing the names of all the gas stations and fast food places that can be found on an interstate.
We resort to laughing at the traffic that is backed up for miles on the other side of the road, only to eat those words as traffic snarls in front of us.
We take turns about every 1/2 hour driving, as the nod of the head is our clue we can't stay awake!
We vow to never drive this far again...ever...again.
Hmmmm....time will tell.