Our first home had a sour cherry tree, and we planted another soon after moving into this, our second. It's taller than the deck now, and quite fruitful.(I was soon informed that Dad allows Becca to go up just two steps--oops!)Deciding when to pick the cherries takes some luck. If we wait for them to be fully red, the birds and squirrels strip the tree bare before we get any. So one hot morning in early June we began gathering our share of the crop. We pick from the ground, the ladder, the deck, and sometimes climb the tree itself. This time Daniel came down quickly as there were so many ants on the tree (and him). We gathered a few gallons and stashed them in the fridge to deal with later.
Eventually it was pitting time. I managed to pick a moment when almost no one was around (yes, poor planning), so I put in a dvd about the Holy Land and set to it. These cherries are soft (vs. firm Bings), so the pit is pulled out rather than ejected. Lauren processed enough for 2 cups (a much larger volume before pitting) and I finished the remaining 16. It was an interesting video. Really.
I made a large cherry cobbler that night, and froze the remaing cherries on a baking sheet. That reminds me--I need to go put them in a bag to wait for some cold night when we want a sweet taste of summer.
The funny thing this year is that our competitors have been very slow to finish off the harvest. Usually the tree is stripped in a day or two, and very soon after our gathering. Now the remaining cherries (and there were PLENTY) keep getting redder and redder than we've ever seen. The tree is about 1/3 bare now (starting from the top and "outside" [farthest from the house or closest to the sun?]), but I'm tempted to organize another picking crew tomorrow. I'm finally removed enough from the pitting to be ready to have another go.