Blueberry Field by JoDee Samuelson

Blueberry of course

The Cove Journal | JoDee Samuelson

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It’s the middle of August and the blueberry you-pick is open. It’ll be busy; we set the alarm so we won’t oversleep. Next morning with the sun peeping over the treetops, we join a stream of eager patrons heading to fields of the high bush blueberries glistening in the early light. Once our containers are weighed at the stand, a smiling woman directs us to row 3: “Pick on both sides.” No problem. 

Look at these clusters: this is like picking grapes! I pop a few plump berries in my mouth to savour the warm healthy taste of summer. Is it possible to eat sunlight? Yes it is! A blueberry is pure energy in a perfect little package. But to produce this perfect package, blueberry farmers must keep the weeds down, spread straw, fend off voracious starlings and blue jays, irrigate plants during dry spells, repair machinery, hire staff, buy boxes… the list goes on. Every farming operation has similar challenges. 

It’s been a good growing season if the height of field corn is any indication. Enough rain to keep the Island green (with a few outrageous downpours), but no Kentucky-type flooding and no Alberta window-smashing hail. In fact, everything seems strangely… normal. Tourists, cruise ships, parades, family reunions, weddings, community gatherings. Reflecting this normalcy, we the citizens of the Cove are taking a collective deep breath and making plans for a Berry and Ice Cream Social featuring local strawberries, and blueberries of course. We’re playing it safe and putting the tables outdoors: could be interesting. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I have to pinch myself to believe that this summer really happened. What about that HEAT WAVE? And I do mean heat wave. For many people it was intolerable, but here in the Cove, why, we had the Cove! The water was absolutely perfect for swimming and we made the most of it. A few jellyfish made an appearance in early July but quickly, mercifully, moved on to other shores.

And summer visitors, so welcome. We went all out to show them a good time with sweet new potatoes, bounteous garden greens, crisp yellow beans, juicy lobster rolls, savoury fish chowder; contemplative walks on the beach, $2.00 bets at the races, live theatre, fancy luncheons; dark skies, falling stars, comfortable beds. I did hear a few comments about cacophonous crows roosting nearby and raucous roosters crowing from dawn till dusk, but these were merely the surprised observations of town-dwellers.

Now that our guests have gone back to their own lives we’re reconnecting with friends, digging out long-sleeved shirts, wearing socks! I wander dazedly around the yard filling a vase with flowers of the season, dahlias, marigolds, yarrow, goldenrod, heliopsis, rudbeckia, then over supper make plans for the next day. “The house is cool so it’ll feel good to use the oven again. I think I’ll make bread. While the oven is hot I might as well bake a pie.” 

“What kind of pie?”

“Well, we have lots of fresh blueberries, so it’ll be blueberry, of course.”

Jodee SamuelsonThe Cove Journal
JoDee Samuelson

Born and raised in the Canadian prairies, JoDee now lives in “the Cove” on the Island’s beautiful South Shore. She was a maker of animated films for most of her working life, and presently putters at less demanding artistic ventures like carving owls, painting Island scenes on small woodblocks, and playing ukelele.