Children, due to their petite stature and remarkable agility, are the ideal candidates to be employed in the picking of peaches (much like the fabled Chimney Sweeps of England or Rug Weavers of the East). As children, we thought it was for the adventure of climbing that we were hoisted into the knotty, yet dainty, boughs of the peach trees. No indeed! It was because we weighed too little to damage the spindly branches. The adults, with baskets, followed us around the tree, not to prevent an unfortunate mishap such as our tumbling out, but to retrieve as GENTLY as possible the precious, easily bruised, and succulent fruit. Heaven protect you should you drop a peach.
At any rate, laborious or not, picking peaches was some of the most fun we had during the long, dog days of summer. We were also engaged in the collection of blueberries, blackberries, figs, pecans, and scuppernongs. I think scuppernongs really deserve an illustration and explanation of their very own, so I will keep that in mind for the future.
The above image is one that I consider as a 'cover' illustration. It's a combination of traditional pencil, stamping technique, and digital colouring on the leaves. Sadly, this cropping loses the "See Rock City" birdhouse, which was (and is) a familiar sight throughout the South. What Southerner worth their salt has not made the traditional, obligatory stop in either Tallulah Gorge or Lookout Mountain?