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Blackberry escapades

I’ve just returned from a semi-victorious walk around the mountain. I did indeed gather ¾ a bowl of sweet, succulent blackberries. I also return with 45 scratches, hands full of embedded prickles, a bee-sting, and a semi-twisted ankle. Not my fault, of course.


 


I believe any effort is a success if you learn something in the process. This is what I’ve learned today.



  1. Bee’s like me. Or maybe it is fairer to say they like the vanilla lotion I slather on myself each morning after the shower. I bought this from a lovely woman at the farmer’s market. She makes all these wonderful natural products from scratch and when you buy some, she pauses to tell you stories about her family and where she got the ingredients and how she made the products. Love that. But facts are fact. The best scent for me now a days is “deep woods off”. I know this, but I am stubborn. I may have no sense of smell, but the men I encounter do, and I want to smell pretty. As such, I must live with the fact that I have great bee-appeal. I truly doubt any of those men that I make the effort to smell nice for, take notice of me at all, but the bees find me very desirable. What ya gonna do?
  2. It is wise to just skip reaching beyond the cliff to get that great clump of berries, no mater how agile you like to pretend you are. Because you might slip and slide 5 feet down the mountain. This kind of thing has the potential to give you 45 scratches and a semi-sprained ankle. Yes, it is better if you pull on the vine and bring the berries to you. Duh.
  3. If you say you are going to do something, you should do it. Especially if what you say you are going to do is wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt (and maybe gloves). It isn’t a good idea to just go out in capri’s and a tank top thinking you’ll just pause to gather the easy to reach berries on the side of the road this time . . . There are no easy to reach berries on the side of the road. Others have beat you to them. All the really good, juicy berries are in the thicket, calling to you like a siren with talons at the ready. And come on, it is not as if you don’t know your own weaknesses.
  4. If you want to gather wild flowers on your walk, it is best to do this after you pick berries, or on another walk altogether. An armful of yellow daisies is rather cumbersome when you are fighting thorns, and if you keep putting them down, they get dirty and start losing their pedals and you end up coming home with a wad of sad looking, broken stemmed, wilted, yellow daisies – though I must say they are a very appropriate compliment to 45 scratches, a bee sting and a semi-sprained ankle. I guess Mother Nature does not reward greedy guests.   

 


I am hoping I’ll have more luck later in the berry quest.  I actually went on line and downloaded an article about growing blackberries in North Carolina. There are 11 species and they fall into three cultivar types. I hope I will be able to recognize what I’m picking soon. I already can see differences. Once I read this article I will learn what makes the berries sweet and lots of other juicy details, like how to prune and train blackberry plants(to avoid the warrior method I’m employing now) Fertility management (sounds fancy, huh) and harvesting and nutritional composition.
I will be a true blackberry aficionado.

But right now – I have to do some homework. So much for a relaxing walk to prime the artistic pump. Sigh.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

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