It was spur of the moment ... like most of our plans tend to be. My parents were going to our favorite place in Lieburg (near Vida), so Dwight decided we should go, too.
The plan was to leave after breakfast (that we liesurely spent with company). Just as we were all packed up, lunch in ice chest, pulling out of the driveway, we found out that the place that we've gone to for years was not going to be open after all, being that it was a Sunday.
Quick change of plans, a search on the internet, a phone call to confirm ... and we were off to a NEW place. This time, we drove west towards Albany, but stopped in the small town of Lebanon. We meandered on back roads, around farms, over creeks and made it to Springbank Farm.
This is a beautiful 320 acre place growing 12 acres of blueberries ... and other things, as well. The family there was very nice and welcoming and we found ourselves feeling like family as we soon got very well acquainted.
We all donned our awesome harnesses, grabbed our buckets (little ones for the little troops) and headed out into the field.
The bushes that greeted us were VERY small (the same size as Vienna!). Even so, I was surprised to see lots of berries on the few little branches these newby bushes were growing.
Still, our spirits were complaining and thinking that we would have a very hard time trying to fill a single bucket, let alone the 100lbs we were hoping for.
But, pressing on, we soon found row after row of more mature trees that were LADEN with plump blueberry clumps. We ate until our bellies hurt, filled bucket after bucket, and had such a blast.
Dwight soon found "the jackpot" and the picking really became fun. Imagine being able to fill an entire bucket in about 15 minutes! Well, that's about what started to happen as the clumps of berries were "tickled" off the bushes and into the buckets.
Hauling in the berries became the next important chore. By the time Chance and I had brought 3 buckets to the front, and returned ... the picking crew had filled another 3. What a system!
Dwight and I were blown away by their diligence and determination to keep picking 'til the end. Part of the reason they were so motivated, was because it was so rewarding and FUN! The berries were just prolific ... and each bush seemed to want to give more and more. We couldn't stop!
We picked 19 1/2 buckets -- totalling over 220lbs! That should last us a while. :-)
As is tradition for the blueberry picking experience ... after you've picked all day in the hot sun, one MUST dunk in a river. We found a beachy spot off the Santiam River nearby and everyone cooled down in the fresh water. Ahhhhh.... it doesn't get better than this, folks!