Our day began with a journey to Green Thumb Farms in western Maine because we were curious about their native blueberry sod. We had hoped to see some, but that wasn’t to be and instead we were given a contact number for a sales rep. Our hope is to purchase a couple of pallets worth and use it as one more filter system at our camp in our continuing efforts to protect water quality. We recently learned that we qualified for a LakeSmart Award, but don’t want that to stop us from finding other ways to create a more lake-friendly property. Stay tuned on the sod because once we figure that out, it will be a story worth telling.
From Green Thumb Farms we zigged and zagged along the back roads until we reached Eaton, New Hampshire. Lunch awaited at the Eaton Village Store on Route 153. Inside, one wall is covered with mailboxes and the post office. Grocery and gifty items are displayed in an aisle or two. And then there’s the lunch counter and a few tables for the eatery. A most pleasant eatery. The menu is simple, food fresh, and all served with a smile and conversation.
Oh, and one more thing. They are eternal optimists! Or procrastinators like me. Heck, eventually there will be falling snow to watch for again.
After lunch, we zigged and zagged again, winding our way up a road we once remember sliding down–in the winter on our bellies with our eight and ten year old sons in tow. Our destination today was much easier, though I did put the truck into four-wheel-drive to reach the trailhead parking lot for Foss Mountain. I’d told my guy about the blueberries and views and neither of us gave a thought to today’s weather for in the newspaper the forecast predicted it to be “rather” cloudy, “rather” being a rather unscientific term. It turned out to be more than “rather.” And raindrops fell, but still we went.
We examined the sign and my guy was thrilled with the possibilities.
Some fields, however, were closed to public picking for a private operation leased those from the town.
Off to the side, we spied their sorting machines. Note the blueberry color of the equipment.
And the abundance of blueberries.
After testing a sample to make sure they were acceptable for human consumption, my guy stuck his hands in his pockets to avoid further temptation.
Upward we journeyed, following the path of this property that is owned by the Town of Eaton. Along the way, a large patch of Joe Pye Weed shouted for attention, its petals disarrayed much like my own hair on this misty of days.
The habitat changed and still we climbed–anticipation in every step my guy took at full speed.
At the next natural community boundary, where conifers gave way to saplings and undergrowth, my guy rejoiced. At last we’d reached the promised land.
And immediately he stepped off the trail to find those tiny blue morsels that bring him such delight.
While he picked, I headed toward the summit, where a blanket of fog enveloped the view. It didn’t matter, for our focus zeroed in on what was before us rather than being swept up with the beyond.
From my place at the top, I could see him below–a mere speck intent on filling his bags to the brim.
I began to look around and felt an aura that made me feel as if I was in Ireland rather than New Hampshire. The fog. The green. The gray. The world disappeared.
And the world before me opened up.
Like yellow caterpillars that are all the rage right now, Common Goldspeck Lichen inched across the granite face.
Beside it, Granite-speck Rim Lichen stood out like tiles in a mosaic work of art.
Meanwhile, the fog danced across the ridgeline, twirling and whirling in a ghostly quiet manner, its transparent gowns touching the ground ever so tenderly before lifting into the next move.
And my guy found a new location and picked some more.
My attention turned to the Steeplebush, a spirea that grew abundantly at the summit, its flowers of pink offering a tiny splash of color to brighten any day.
The American Copper Butterfly and a bumblebee also found the Steeplebush much to their liking.
And I, I couldn’t pull my eyes away from admiring this tiny butterfly and its beautiful markings.
From every angle that it posed while seeking nectar, I stood in awe–those striped antennae, giant black eyes, copper-silver color, and hairy scaled wings.
And then there was another, which I thought was a bird when I first heard it scamper out of the bushes.
But Chippie soon made himself known and I discovered that he, too, sought those little morsels so blue. Competition for my guy.
Ever so slowly, the fog lifted a bit and even the sun tried to poke through for a moment or two. Still, my guy picked–somewhere. I couldn’t always see him, but trusted he was in the great beyond.
Much closer to me, three Cedar Waxwings circled the summit over and over again in a counter-clockwise pattern. Thankfully, they also paused, eyeing the potential for their own berry picking sights from the saplings on which they perched.
I fell in love . . . with their range of colors: cinnamon, black, gray, brown, red, yellow, and white. And the bad-hair day tufts, for like the Joe Pye Weed, the Cedar Waxwings and I also shared a resemblance.
At last my guy finished up, though not before standing on a yonder piece of granite, looking west and calling for me. “I’m up here, behind you,” I shouted softly into an almost silent world, where the only sounds came from cicadas and crickets and occasionally the Cedar Waxwings.
As we made our way down, he stopped again for about a half hour to pick some more in a spot he’d noted on the way up. And I looked around, discovering other blueberry lovers among us–Yellow-necked Moth Caterpillars were slowly stripping some bushes of their greenery.
At last we passed by the forbidden fields, where my guy later confessed he felt like we were in Eden.
Ryan Bushnell of Burnt Meadow Blueberries was at work, raking and sorting the sweet morsels of blue.
It was his business to make sure each pint would be filled by day’s end.
We wanted to chat with him more about the operation, but he was intent upon working and so after the initial greeting and a few more words, we knew it was time to move on. Mr. Bushnell’s buckets would be filled over and over again. (And I suspected that upon seeing this operation, my guy, should he ever decide to retire from his hardware business, may just ask to work in the field–the blueberry field.)
Our buckets were full as well–for my guy, it was bags of blueberries to freeze for future consumption. For me, it was all that I saw as I poked about the summit, thankful that I wasn’t distracted by the 360˚ view. We did indeed fill our buckets on this Mondate.