We took the family berry-picking this weekend, at Tougas Farm (tougasfarm.com).  It was a 40- or 45-minute drive; we left promptly on Saturday morning and hit no traffic.  In ~2 hours, we got 2 pints of raspberries (the raspberries are only just starting), 4.5 pounds of blueberries, and 2 quarts of cherries.  We also spent some noticeable chunk of time feeding and petting pygmy goats and a few minutes playing on the playground.  The blueberries and cherries were amazing, and very quick to work.  The farm keeps the berries (and trees) currently being picked under nets.  Bushes are well-spaced in rows, and trees are kept relatively short.  The result was that the cherries, for example, didn't go much above my arm's reach, and both six-year-old J and 85-year-old GG could pick comfortably.  J could work at his eye level and below; GG didn't have to bend at all, and I could pick the slightly higher stuff.  The first 3 pints of cherries took about 10 minutes total. 

S lost interest in picking pretty quickly, but was happy to wander some, and to watch, feed, and pet the goats.  He took a break and had a snack with Daddy while the rest of us picked cherries.  Everyone enjoyed the morning.

We plan to go back later in the summer; the raspberries should pick up soonish, and later (Augustish) they'll have peaches, and of course apples in the fall.  We walked past some of the apple trees; they're also relatively short and should make for easy picking. (They're not quite espaliered, but pretty close.) 

The bathrooms are relatively large, relatively new-looking, and clean.  There's a little kitchen for lunch food (didn't get any), bottled water, and of course the obligatory fruit donuts. 

Overall, I highly recommend this farm. 
I recently read _Shelter_, by Susan Palwick.  It was highly readable, and overall I very much enjoyed it.  I'm particularly impressed, because it uses some themes that are sometimes touchy for me--parental death, unfortunate situation with a 6-year-old boy.  Oh, and appeals to neuroscience, which when done badly can *really* get me.  (I'm not claiming the neuroscience was all correct, just that it wasn't so obviously awful as to get in my way.  It also wasn't that obtrusive, mostly.) 

I ended up feeling that it was flawed somehow, but I can't really put my finger on it at the moment.  In any event, it was more absorbing than anything else I've read in quite a while. 

Overall I highly recommend the book.



June 2010

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