Photo by Ray Elgersma from McGahey and White Oak Farms who are at The Carleton Place Farmer’s Market every Saturday. The child is eating Beckwith Berries from the CP Farmer’s Market as fast as he can.
Once upon a time you could find tons of wild strawberries growing in the local fields, and my friends and I would pick them and eat them as fast as we could pick them. The issue was on the side of the fence where the strawberries grew thick lived a farmer who didn’t have much use for us snooping children. In fact, every time he saw one of us he would try to shoot us in the pants with rock salt. His property lured us constantly with the smell of wild strawberries–and of course others just wanted to poke around his barn. If I can recall there was also some sort of log structure on his property we were fascinated with.
I don’t know the exact year his farm was built, but I don’t think it had been painted in years. Moss climbed up the sides and on to the roof and from the other side of the fence it looked like it was ready to fall. Word was he didn’t have inside plumbing and the neighbours joked it was so he wouldn’t have to spend money on a plumber. Of course us children were his major source of aggravation because his property was easy shortcut to that tasty wild fruit.
Each time he saw the whites of our eyes he would haul out his shotgun and shoot rock salt at us until we hightailed it over the fence. If I recall one of my friends did get shot in the derriere and he chased him up a tree. There is no doubt that the salt in that kids wounds was smarting something awful. It was also the very same gun he fired years later in anger at a car full of teenagers. Parents were furious and would have defended him because the kids were on his property, but using a shotgun full of rock salt was no excuse.
One parent took it to a higher power stating the farmer could have every easily “slaughtered” every person in the car. Years later, word on the street was that one of the kids he hit ended up buying that very same gun at an auction. No word on what he did with it. Each year when the strawberries come out I remember the days of picking and choosing our strawberries and childhood battles.