I found cherries last weekend. It hasn’t been the greatest fruit year so far; the days were warm and the trees budded out before the bees came and then it grew cold and wet again, disrupting pollination and fruit set. Productive trees had few cherries; I trespassed into a near-by rental yard to check on the fruit and there were only a dozen on the branches. It’s making my goal of all local fruit, mostly foraged and free, a bit tricky. However, Mark has a friend with a tree and it was loaded and ripe. We just had to climb around on the garage roof for an hour of picking. We rode our bikes over to Ranch Land and slipped back in time, children playing and singing, neighbors chatting, all of those happy small ranch houses recalling what we think of as a simpler era.
I dried eight trays of the berries, made some cherry and red currant preserves, which as a little sweet, and canned a bunch for yogurt and granola for the winter. When I was finished, I surveyed the supplies from last year and made predictions for this year’s canning load, remembering that we eat far more dried fruit than canned and hardly any jam. I bought new lids, hauled the dryer, strainer, and steam canner out of the basement out of the basement, and stained them all red with cherry juice. The preserving season has begun!