Carol shouted from the kitchen, 'I'm going to go out and harvest the soft fruit'. Little D is lazing on the couch with a tablet, playing some game to help his eye-hand co-ordination; anyone else notice that little boys are inherently clumsy and that when they grow up they become clumsy men? Except by then they have learnt to blame inanimate objects, as in, it was the door's fault, that hammer is wonky, that drill has been wrong from the start and that wall shouldn't be there. Anyway, as he hear's Carol say this the tablet is flung on the couch and he is a blur, and we mean a blur with it's owned added sound effects, think ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM! And you would hit the mark, his wellies are on and Carol has barely got her key in the lock. He announces in a sweet voice that he available to help her, 'I'll help you, Mummy'. When Little D means help, he means this.
Yes, Little D's help means simply storing the fruit in his cheeks like a hamster and if any get swallowed that's just an accident. We have discovered that recently this form of 'help' can get him to eat more vegetables. It's surprising how many times he says he doesn't like something before he's even eaten it or has briefly brushed it past his lips. However, if we ask him to come and taste something as we prepare and cook it, he'll eat the final dish. This has happened with a curry with chunky vegetables and a pasta dish full of peppers, which he has told us for the last year he hates. Getting kids involved in gardening and cooking, even in a mainly managerial role, in the quality control department, works for us. So in the garden, he stands, cheeks full and no fruit gets in the bowl unless he inspects, possibly sniffs it, and in extreme cases, licks it, places it on his tongue and promptly swallows. This is normally followed by delighted noises and some thumbs up and rubbing of the belly. He is particularly drawn to large gooseberries and easy to pick raspberries. Anyway, even with Little D's help, Carol picks around a pound and half of blackcurrants.
Three pounds of gooseberries. Which range from sweet to tart, like a gooseberry pick and mix lottery. At either end of the taste spectrum, Little D is there as quality control.
Together, and with much wrestling from Little D, they pick around a pound and a quarter of raspberries.
From the start of the raspberry harvest we have picked over five pounds of raspberries, we sit in the kitchen afterwards and figure out that at the supermarket that would be around £40 of berries. Over twenty punnets of raspberries that have made cakes, jams and are nestled in our freezer for winter use. Those that don't make the quality assurance test are quickly recycled by Little D.