Blueberry Picking in the Mountains

The blueberries are ripe and ready up at my parents house in the mountains and they needed some extra hands to pick the berries, so they wouldn’t go to waste.  So, my sister and I (and her 2 dogs) headed up for a day of blueberry picking last week.  We both brought some home to freeze too and they will come in handy during the winter months when berries are not readily available. I’m so glad my dad loves to garden with veggies and fruits.  All the bounty is a part of our growing up years and it’s been so nice to have all of it around.  We know that this bounty will not last forever and if we want to grow our own, we will have to learn to do it ourselves.

But, for hopefully a few more seasons, we will pick blueberries and enjoy them.  I’ve shared my parents mountain home several times in the last 6 years, but I’ll do another recap for you here.

mountain house

My dad built this house about 30 years ago in the Murphy, NC area and they originally planned to retire up here permanently, but when their granddaughter, Lauren, came along, those plans changed. They wanted to be close to see her often and they did.  She spent a lot of time with them in her young years in Marietta and up here at the mountain house.

name plaque

In fact, her name made it on the name plaque outside the front door.  Renee and I are missing, but not Lauren!  Smile  They love that girl.

flagstone

We’ve been coming to this house for so many summers and it is such good memories for all of us.  My dad’s imprint is all over the house and everywhere I look, he’s there.

porch sitting

So, this trip was just for blueberry picking, but it was raining when we got there, so we sat on the porch as we do every trip and talked and watched the rain drip off the leaves.  My dad knows that they will not be able to take care of both houses for too many more years and we talked about that too.  It will be a sad, sad day when the house has to be sold.  It’s been such a part of our family’s lives for so long.  But, we girls really do not love the mountains as much as our parents do and so wouldn’t want to take on the upkeep of this house too, which means the house will have to eventually be sold.  They have done so well to still be able to take care of 2 houses all these years, but time is catching up with them.

mom and buster

We have enjoyed many family times on this porch over the years.  Buster is a lap dog and will gladly hop in anyone’s lap who will let him.

Buster the Boston

Buster the Boston.

tomatoes

During the summer months, tomatoes are always bountiful. This year, the abundance of rain has kept his crops to a minimum. There is such a thing as too much rain on a garden.

ferns

I love the lacy ferns growing wild up in the North Carolina mountains.

leaves

I took my camera and did a little photoshoot while I was sitting on the porch.

mountain laurel

Mountain laurel is abundant  in these mountains and they bloom in the spring.  So pretty and peaceful up here.

hummingbirds

One of our highlights on the porch is watching the hummingbirds come to the feeder that my mom keeps filled up with sweet nectar.  I always try to catch them with my camera and succeeded this time.

hummingbird wings

They are so fast with their fluttery wings but I snapped quickly too.

hummingbird close

They are fun to watch and are so fiercely protective of their feeders, fighting among themselves.

hummingbird on  limb

I caught one little guy on the tip of a branch.

Dad and Buster
Dad and Buster.

birdbath

Birdbath hidden among the ferns.

antlers on the porch

Dad is trendy and doesn’t even know it.

frying okra

Mom fixed a completely vegetable meal for lunch. This kitchen has seen  many a meal over the years and she has cooked up scrumptious food for many family members out of this kitchen too.

canning tomatoes

She still cans her tomatoes when they all start coming in.

fried green tomatoes

She fried up some green tomatoes for us, cause she knows we like them.

veggies from garden

Peas, fried okra, fresh creamed corn and tomatoes and cornbread.  It was a meal!

parking to the creek

The rain finally stopped and the sun came out, just in time for our blueberry picking.

bridge over creek

Dad built these steps down to the creek many years ago too.  It goes over the creek and into the flat area below.

creek

The creek is as full as I’ve ever seen it with all the rain this summer.

blueberry bushes

Here’s the huge blueberries bushes that have been growing here for years. We’ve enjoyed this fruit for a long, long time too and it’s a treat when they get ripe.

garden

Dad’s garden is winding down for this year.

090

Blueberries waiting for us to pick.

creek foliage

A few more shots of greenery around the creek.

mossy tree

I love the mossy lichen growing on the trees.  There’s nothing like the North Carolina mountains for beauty.

picking blueberries

The 3 of us picked, me, my dad, and sister and filled up this pan with blueberries in about an hour or so.  Picking goes a lot faster with 3 people.

fresh blueberries

Our beautiful bounty of berries.

dad and the blueberries

Dad is very proud of his blueberry bushes.  He planted some cherry trees up there last year and is waiting for those to produce too.

mom and blueberries

In the meantime, mom likes to pick out the bad berries and stems before they go in the freezer.  We freeze these berries to use later on.

freezing blueberries

I took a good amount home to use myself and here’s how we freeze them.  I do not wash them first (and mom doesn’t either).  I didn’t take time to de-stem mine either, but you can do that as you use them.  Spread them all out single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze in the freezer. Then put them in freezer bags. They will freeze like little marbles and not stick together if you freeze them like this.

That was our day in the mountains picking blueberries. Hope you enjoyed going along with us.  It’s a special family place for us.


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. Your folks are the best. What great memories they grow along with all the veggies and blueberries. I’m not a mountain person at heart (at NC beach right now) but I can see how peaceful it must be in all seasons.

  2. Rhoda – What a fun time and it’s great that you got to spend it with your family. How nice to have a place like that in the mountains that you can enjoy and get away!

    Judy

  3. What a lovely vacation home! I know you will hate to see it sold. It is hard to see things change….

  4. I just love your parents, Rhoda! What a wonderful couple. I love their mountain home, too, and can understand why they like going up there. Oh, and those blueberries!! My mouth is watering thinking about all the goodies you can make with them. I just finished making pepper jelly with my crop of jalapenos but they don’t even come close to wild blueberries!!

    Hope you have a great week!

  5. My mother was from N. Carolina and I love the mountains too-fond childhood memories are the best! Returning to Indiana from Michigan where we bought the best berries in Paw Paw at Ledic’s. #10 to freeze

  6. It warms my heart to read posts with your parents in them. Great post. Thank you, Sara

  7. The scenery is beautiful, and your parents continue to amaze me with all they do.

  8. That’s so great! I just love the pics of your mom and dad and their mountain house. The blueberries look wonderful too. How great that you can spend good times like these with your folks. Keep taking lots of pictures….time goes by fast. I’m remembering my wonderful folks by seeing yours. Thanks so much! Love your Blog.

  9. Linda Coleman says:

    What a wonderful day!

  10. We forget to slow down and just appreciate our family. Your parents are just the sweetest ever! Makes me want to come and sit for a spell on your porch!!!

  11. What a beautiful post! My family’s roots are in Murphy, nc (meroney) but I have never been there! Thanks for sharing it! Blueberries look delicious.

  12. What a great post ! You really captured some great photos. It sure looks like God’s county in the mountain’s.

  13. Hi Rhoda, I just love reading about your Mom and Dad. It always reminds me of things from my childhood and I so admire you all for keeping to the “old” ways. It is sad that most kids today will never know the joy of picking fresh food from the vine and popping it in your mouth. I can just imagine what a girl could learn from spending a day with your parents.
    Loving hearing about your adventures.
    Pam

  14. What a beautiful, serene place to escape to. Just lovely! The lunch looks divine….it’s my favorite summertime meal!
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. Curious why you don’t rinse the berries before freezing. Is it so no water will be left on them, when you freeze them? “Dad is trendy and doesn’t even know it.” I love that! Actually, he was ahead of the trend, correct, since he already had it on the wall?!

    • Hey, Tammie, yes normally the berries are not wet when they are picked, so washing them adds moisture. These were wet though, so I could have gone ahead and washed them, tried to dry them off and then froze them. But, it’s really easy to throw berries in a colander and rinse when you want to use them out of the freezer.

  16. Hello Rhoda,
    I really enjoyed this about your parents Mountain home. I must have missed the other posts about it. Your parents are so lovely and hard working folks. Your Mom’s cooking makes my mouth water. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. God Bless.

  17. Lovely way to spend a day there.

  18. Rhoda, I loved seeing your photos of the day you spent at your parents’ mountain house. Wonderful pics of the hummingbirds, and I always delight in seeing your parents.

  19. Hi Rhoda
    What a special time together as a family, enjoying each other’s company whilst enjoying God’s bounty. It is so good to see senior folk still busy with their gardens and cooking their own meals. We dont do much frying, as i dont like to clean up the mess! But I would so love to taste your mom’s cooking. Enjoy them!

  20. What a sweet story. Rhoda! Warmed my heart.

  21. So I have been thinking of moving to the North Carolina mountains and now that I know I could grow my own blueberry stash I’m sold. On another note, it’s clear that resourcefulness and hard work definitely run in your family. I continue to be amazed at all the living you guys fit into each day. So inspiring.

  22. What a great post. I would give much to live in that wonderful mountain retreat. Just fabulous. And I wonder how Mom gets such a nice breading on her okra.

  23. Cheryl Ann says:

    Great blog Rhoda…your parents remind me of my grandparents…good people! Thanks for sharing them.
    Cheryl Ann

  24. Your parent’s mountain home is lovely! I know you have had so many wonderful times there! I love it that Lauren’s name made the cut- too cute! All the food looks yummy! You’re making me hungry! What a great story about a home that is filled with love!

  25. What a beautiful home! I love all the greenery! You can’t beat freshly picked blueberries and those fried green tomatoes look yummy too. Thanks for sharing.

  26. This was like a lovely trip to the mountains for me. Thank you!

  27. Rhoda, loved this post about your parents mountain home. They are so great, do you think they could adopt me and you would have another sister? Well one can only dream.

  28. Your posts about your parents are always my favourite. Your dad looks like the type of person who takes pride in the work he does and cherishes his family above all. The berries & canned maters look amazing!
    My dad is also 85 and spending time with him is always a treat. We are leaving today for a trip to Australia!

  29. Lynne S. N. says:

    They absolutely do not make ‘em like your mama and daddy anymore. At least not many. I LOVE reading about them and seeing the photos. The mountain house is a wonderful getaway, but not necessarily a “vacation” for Mr. and Mrs. Vickers….they WORK wherever they go! I’m so tickled for you all.

    • HI, Lynne, no they do not make ‘em like this anymore. My parents outwork me most days and my mom is the hardest working woman I know. She doesn’t sit down very often at all, but keeps busy doing things around the house. I know that is why they keep on going like they do.

  30. I loved everything about this post, Rhoda … the greenery, hummingbirds, stairway and, of course, that wonderful veggie dinner! Hope you and your sister can hold onto the home that holds so many special memories for all of you as long as you can. I’m sure your parents would enjoy being able to sit and recall all the special times … even when vegetable gardening can no longer be a part of those visits.
    Diane

  31. I love my NC mountains! I’m much more of a mountain gal than a beach one, but my family outvotes me. Your parents are such an amazing gift of sacrifice and unselfishness. I’m so glad you share their lives on the blog!

  32. I love reading about your parents, Rhoda. They remind me of my sweet mother, who was from Franklin, NC, as she liked to remind us–“in the heart of the Great Smokies” and I don’t think too far from Murphy. The mountains of North Carolina are so beautiful. Spending a rainy day sitting on a porch in the mountains brought back many sweet memories of doing that as a child. I haven’t been back in a few years–makes me want to make that 8 hour trek from Richmond! Thanks for sharing your parents with us.

  33. Rhoda, as everyone does i loved this post. You come from a rich heritage and what a blessing that is for you.i love what i could see of the house im sad though that i missed previous post in the past about it. it truly looks like a serene place to go and gather your thoughts.wow your dad did a beautiful job with what i saw not frue frue just extremely comforting.i can imagine being there and watching a beautiful snowfall all cozy inside with a great cup of hot tea while a big pot of soup cooked.I would love this place!!

  34. Martha Anne says:

    You’re creating precious, precious memories!!

  35. Why not pass the mountain home to Lauren and her future children? I’d hate to see so much family history and love not passed on to future generations! I’d do everything I could to keep it in my family. My grandparents were part of the dust bowl and left everything to move west so sadly, our family doesn’t have anything to pass down to future generations.

    • HI, RJ, the problem with that is that Lauren is married and living in New Orleans, a long ways from NC. It would be hard to keep up a house there, so I don’t think that will happen. All of us girls are beach lovers so a mountain house isn’t our dream, like it was for our parents.

  36. I really enjoyed this cozy post and hearing about more of your parents life, thank you for sharing. Looks like a wonderful place to go for a relaxing weekend. Your parents are so gifted, I can see where you get it!

  37. Rhoda, I can almost smell that mountain air. What a peaceful place. Your folks make the most out of the life God has given them. I love all the post about them.

  38. Your parents remind me of my grandparents. My grandmother used to cook just like that all the time. They had a huge garden every year and I couldn’t wait for all the good meals that would come out of it. I am from NC and love the mountains here. Thank you for sharing this post.

  39. My hubby and I are looking for a mountain cabin! Can you send me info if and when they sell?

  40. I am so touched by your parents. They seem to enjoy the simple beauties of life without being caught up in what the world offers. There is something so touching about them and what they value in life. It is obvious in your photographs and descriptions of them.

  41. I am such a mountain girl- I hope to retire to the mountains someday. Your parents are amazing people, doing so much more than I can possibly even think about doing. You have obviously inherited that energy gene! :)

  42. Hi Rhoda,
    What a great post. There’s nothing like those fond memories . Reading this reminded me so much of my summers as a city girl in Alabama picking blackberries. I so miss my aunt Gladys’ Blackberry Cobbler. Thanks for taking me back to those good old days.

  43. Your mom’s veggie dinner looks great. Do you think she would share her recipe for cornbread and creamed corn?

  44. Great post Rhoda!!! Beautiful pictures and not only do we get Mom and Dad (we can all call them Mom and Dad, no?) but we get sweet adorable Buster too! Such a beautiful, tranquil setting and the blueberries and your Mama’s food looks awesome!

  45. I feel there is no end to the talent, creativity and just pure goodness of that Mama and Daddy of yours ! They never cease to amaze and inspire me, with all that they do….. What a wonderful inspiration they are to all of us – you must be so proud of them !

  46. Rhoda,
    I love reading about your parents. Mine have been gone for a long time. I am so happy that you are able to share so many things with your parents – and all of us benefit from reading about them. God has blessed your parents with good health and they continue to Bless Him with their wonderful harding working hands.
    Love all of you,
    Connie, IN

  47. Hi Rhonda….What a great day with your parents. You lucky girl! They are an awesome couple.
    Blueberry picking reminded me when as a kid we picked wild blackberries. So much fun! My Mom would make jellies etc. and a big cobbler in a turkey roaster! Ha! Just a great fun for us kids back in the day.
    The mountain home is lovely…a wonderful memory filled place for you all. Hugs to you and the family!

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