Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Cranberrying" & the Wet-Vac

This morning Amie and I awoke to go cranberry-picking with her parents. I have picked strawberries, blueberries, and various other berries from nature so I thought that this would be such a pleasant manner to spend a beautiful Maine day. Unbeknownst and undisclosed to me is that cranberries grow in very wet, bog-like conditions.

From Wikipedia: Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccos. They are found in ACIDIC BOGS...

Equipped only in my Adidas running shoes, I immediately sank to my ankles in water before reaching my first cranberry shrub. Despite the soggy feet, I had a very pleasurable time picking the cranberries. I was able to pick 4 to 5 berries at a time before placing them in my plastic bucket pail. I would rate myself a slightly below average cranberry picker. Amie and her mother were much more efficient in that they seem to place themselves very strategically amongst densely populated cranberry bushes and were so much more rapid in their collecting. I meandered primarily amongst the low-hanging cranberries and had a tendency to look off into the beautiful scenery. If I had known of my near-arrest later that day, I would have stopped and relished the cranberry-picking that much more. Amie's father, however, is in a cranberry-collecting league of his own. Some months ago, he had the idea of collecting cranberries with a Wet-Vacuum. Upon arriving at the cranberry bog, Lucie (Amie’s mother) and Amie fanned out while her father unloaded the Honda portable generator and the Sears-Craftsman Wet-Vac! He places the generator amongst surrounding cranberry shrubs, attaches the Wet-Vac, and away he goes. He is like the zambonie at hockey intermission -- covering all the ground. The Wet-Vac inhales not only cranberries but grass, leaves, twigs,water, and anything else that dares interfere with the cranberries. I would not have been surprised if Stephen had managed to suck in an occasional toad or two! By the end of the day, Stephen had collected approximately five times more cranberries than the rest of us combined! A seemingly preposterous idea at first blush but rather brilliant from a productivity perspective; Stephen Mallett is the Da Vinci of cranberry-collecting.

Cranberry Bog Near Vanceboro, Maine

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