This changed a few months ago when I heard someone on a podcast strongly recommend Gene Stratton-Porter books and particularly The Keeper of the Bees. I immediately went to my bookshelf and located The Keeper of the Bees and began reading. I became entranced by this story of an injured World War I veteran who discovers the restorative power of nature and the kindness of strangers who soon become his family. The story's protagonist reclaims his faith in God as he studies the complexity of how bees maintain their hives. Only the presence of God as an intelligent creator can explain such things in nature. I simply fell in love with this book and grew particularly fond of the character of the child Little Scout, whose pure love of nature and imagination reminded me of my own children.
Perhaps reading The Keeper of the Bees inspired me to take the girls strawberry picking on Friday afternoon. Meg and Clare had early dismissal from school and we always try to have some adventure for early dismissal days. We have a few strawberries growing in our own garden and the girls have had so much fun picking those very few strawberries. I realized that, because we did not go strawberry picking last year (and possibly the year before that), Anne had no memory of picking strawberries in the big field at the orchard. So we drove to Butler's Orchard and picked some of the sweetest, juiciest strawberries we've ever had. The girls learned that while strawberries in the field may be smaller than what they see in the grocery store, they make up for it in taste.