I try to warn family and friends about traveling with me. I like to stop along the way, here and there. I realize there are many who detest this moseying way of travel. You want to get in the car and drive to your destination – pronto. And when it’s time to return, you set your GPS, calculate distance, time and velocity, prepare alternate routes in case of traffic, use the restroom and set your sights on home.
I feel sorry for you if you are stuck with me. Every 1 hour = 2 hours when you meander.
On the way home from our mini-vacation to Warm Springs, we ventured along Highway 29, through Madison County. At the sight of the bright blue, star-shaped balloons, my focus locked.
“Pull over, Dave.”
“Right there,” I say, pointing to a field.
Dave does not look particularly happy, but he abides my wishes.
“We’re going to pick some blueberries,” I exclaim as I practically skip to the farm stand.
The owner of Ells Farm, Carty Yowell, explains how he tends the blueberry bushes in honor of his father who passed away 5 years ago. He says his friends ask him if it’s worth it to keep up with the berry farm, and he laughs. He figures he makes a couple dollars an hour, but this is a labor of love and he welcomes friends, both old and new.
We ask a few questions.
How long do the blueberry bushes live? With careful pruning and water many of the bushes have lived for 35 years.
We’re traveling and don’t have our berry-picking baskets. No problem. Carty shares his ingenious system. A plastic gallon milk jug with the opening cut wide, a piece of sturdy string tied through the handle, slipped around your neck or cross body, and now you are ready to pick.
How about the cost? $3.00/pound for pick-your-own. $4.00/pound already picked. Weigh berries on the spring scale and put cash or check in the blue metal box, on your honor. Pick up an original recipe from Carty’s mother for blueberry cobbler or jam.
I’ve waited my whole life to travel in this way . . . so if you want to hurry . . . don’t ride with me.
Slow travels are the way to go. It’s okay to stop and be happy. And it’s hard not to be happy with a mouth full of blueberries.