I have been lucky to see many of my young farming buddies when I have been out and about on my watering rounds. They are, for the most part, highly mobile on bikes, scooters and skateboards and can usually be seen with a Popsicle or Slurpee in hand. We stop to chat about all kinds of things and as quickly as they appear, they speed away to their next destination.
My friends and I at that young age covered a lot of ground on our bikes in the summer. When you are a carefree 10-year-old, summer can be a magical time. We had several routes in our playbook and often we would do the fruit circuit depending on how hot it was and how hungry we were.
In Vancouver, the corner of Carnarvon and 42nd Avenue was usually the first stop. There was a massive plum tree there in a backyard that luckily had several fruit laden branches that crept over a fence and provided ample fruit energy for about 15 minutes. Next were the blackberries at Kerrisdale Annex and after that the cherries in old man Craven’s backyard. He was a mean old dude so we had to be commando like and crawl up the slope of his backyard to the base of the tree before climbing all over each other to reach the fruit.
I recall that nearly everyone had some sort of fruit tree in their yards at the time. When some of the older homes began being replaced, someone forgot about the trees in the development plans. I believe that will change in light of COVID-19 and I know that people are once again looking to the yard as a source of fresh fruit and vegetables.
When we were done on our first ride of the day we would usually head to one of our own backyards to turn on the sprinkler and have some good old fashioned water fun. A quick dry on a towel on the lawn somewhere and it was time to start over again. As long as a mom provided the necessary amount of watermelon, Popsicles and lemonade, we would spend hours and hours enjoying a simple past time.
I was lucky to spend large chunksof summer on the Sunshine Coast as a kid but always enjoyed the simplicity of my friends, my bike and a backyard.
I feel for families that may not be able to take any time off during summer due to complexities of the pandemic and am hopeful that Metro Vancouver may consider altering watering restrictions for the rest of the summer by changing hours for lawn sprinkling from 4 to 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that kids can enjoy the epic fun of a wet backyard -- just like the old days.
Mike Schneider is founder of Project Pickle and likes to write about growing, cooking and eating food. He is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution ambassador.