Monday, September 3, 2012

I Survived George Kehoe's Berry-Picking Hike

The berries are way over on top of that hill, and I'm behind the others and still have a long way to go.
I became quite fond of partridge berries (known as fox berries here in Cape Breton) while we were in Newfoundland recently, and when I met George and Claire Kehoe over at the Civic Center where they were selling their garden goodies I learned that they picked fox berries over at Rocky Bay near their home.  Rocky Bay is on Isle Madame on the east coast of Cape Breton, and the habitat is suitable for these little berries unlike here in Marble Mountain.
Tiny partridge (fox) berries growing over at Rocky Bay.
Saturday we were planning to visit our friend Lawrence in Arichat (also on Isle Madame), and we arranged to visit George and Claire at their place and go berry picking.  The fox berry season has just begun, and I wanted to lay in a supply to freeze to have ready when we get back here next May.  It was a beautiful sunny, but quite windy day, and I insisted on walking to the site where the berries grew.  George had suggested we drive to a road that was a bit closer to where we would be picking, but oh no I insisted upon walking (hiking as it turned out).
One of the Kehoe's garden in an open meadow down toward the woods.
First we walked down into an open meadow where several of the Kehoe's gardens grew and then through the woods where in every open area there was a little patch of garden.
Scarlet runner beans.

It's hard to believe that corn grows here, the season is so short.

A nice pumpkin.
And Claire has lots of flowers scattered in among the veggies too.
Claire's lilies.

Then we trudged up and down and finally over to the coast, and I could see why this area is named Rocky Bay.
The rocky beach below.

Once on the coast we still had a long series of hills, up and down and over rocks, until we reached the meadow-like exposure high above the rocky beach.
We're half way there, and I'm still standing.
It seemed as if we had hiked ten miles, but George assured me it was more like two miles, but hey, I'm not so sure.   But here was a beautiful field of these tiny little berries.  It was fun picking them, and the hike was worth it.

These berries are very tiny and although Claire picks them  by hand, George uses a blueberry rake which I found more useful.
George uses a blueberry rake to harvest the tiny berries.
On the way home, Dan, George and Claire, and I'm still behind.

 We didn't have time to pick the gallon I wanted, but luckily the Kehoes had picked some for me earlier.

A gallon of partridge berries.
Not only did I have the experience of picking partridge berries, but along the way I was delighted to see the many little "gardens" or patches of vegetables.  George is a retired mathematics teacher, and gardening is his and Claire's hobby.  It's seems to me it's more like an occupation growing all these vegetables in their little ten acre spot on Rocky Bay.

I'm so happy to have had the chance to see the fox berries growing and to pick some.  I did survive the two-mile (?) hike, but boy am I sore today.  Thanks George and Claire for a unique experience.

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