Down by the Nepean River lie a row of tall mulberry trees. Each summer we picnic underneath their canopy of blousy lime green leaves taking refuge from the sun. Lying on your back looking up it's possible to see a few of the last mulberries hidden from the birds and more recently, the foragers. I always seem to leave my mulberry picking too late. But not this year.
At the Crop & Swap on Saturday there was talk of ladders, climbing trees, making jams, and rocky road, and it all had to do with mulberry season. This morning we took Ben down to the river with a bucket and we foraged for berries. It was so fun. Ben quickly became our scout - running from tree to tree calling out "Over here guys! I found a goodie!" before taking a rest in the shade with some leaves and a pile of sticks.
J went up the tree and when he couldn't reach the outer branches I did something I haven't attempted in many, many years. I climbed onto his shoulders and balanced there picking berries while trying not to shriek like a little girl.
As it turns out, fruit picking is really hot hard work. Our 500g of berries took about an hour to collect and was made into just one large jar of jam. For a brief moment it seemed like a lot of effort for not a lot of food - but then I remembered Ben's little face as he wove in and out of the branches and how silly and young I felt wobbling about on top of my husband's strong shoulders.
It was a bit of fun. And a good way to spend one of these precious last home days with our Ben before he starts school next year. And it's got me thinking - what other fruit trees are out there waiting for an unlikely gang of foragers to discover them?