Friday, June 08, 2018

Into the Brambles

*Dear patient reader, I have no idea how to fix the inconsistencies in the print in this post. Can only suggest you read it in bright light.







"Maybe you could pick the blackberries while I mow the grass?" the OC suggested.

 "You should wear the wellies though so's not to tear up your legs."

"The wellies" are an ancient leftover from a former life (Montana, I think). They have been languishing for years, undisturbed, in a quiet corner of the garage. Having assured myself that no spiders had set up housekeeping therein, I donned the wellies which are a faded shade of olive green, not to mention three sizes too large, and one of the OC's most battered garden hats, in a matching, equally faded green. One can't be too careful - those style police can jump out from the most unexpected places. Best to give them nothing to write me up about. Grabbing gloves and a bowl I was ready to go where no husband is foolish enough to go.....

Into the brambles.






Our blackberry patch is a small operation, planted and tended mostly by Mother Nature, harvested by us, the birds and a variety of bramble-immune critters. Including, but not limited to, those that live in here - above left.



Winter lingered long this year. Pineapple plants withered; the moringa tree brownly expired; banana plants died (we thought). The blueberries loved having a cold spell. They flowered and set abundant fruit, but life goes on. Birds have to eat, and they did - every last berry. Then came the rain, lots of it and, as the temperatures rose, everything went into hyper-growth and re-birth. Brand new pineapple babies rose from their parents' ashes. New leaves, tightly furled, pushed skyward like pencils from the presumed-dead banana plants. Sunshine came on the heels of the rain and the moringa's roots sent up shoots that are now taller than me. And I'm no midget.






Mother Nature laughs when we try to grow tomatoes in our sandy soil. When I first saw tiny tomato plants popping up on the compost I was eager to dig them up, pot them and lavish them with TLC. Not so fast, said MN in my ear, they like it there. All those kitchen scraps, potato peels and coffee grounds, all that stuff the OC amended the compost with - can't you see they're perfectly happy right where I put them?
And since it's not nice to fool with mother nature I left them there and now we have these little beauties, right there on the compost pile.




I've heard that bears like berries. Venturing further into the thicket I saw depressions there where bears might well have rested after a nice tummy-full of our (well, Mother Nature's) berries. True, I've never seen bears in or near our garden, but, less than a mile from here there's a sign warning motorists to watch for bears! So, it's not such a stretch. That said, you'll be the first to know if I ever do see a bear wandering through our brambles.

But, back to berry-picking. I found myself putting all that yoga to practical use. The easy pickings were around the edges, but back among the thorns where the fattest and juiciest berries glistened, just out of reach, all those forward folds, half moons, dancers' and warrior poses suddenly became extremely useful. "Relax into the pose," we constantly hear at yoga. All very well in the studio which is thorn-free, not such a great idea precariously balanced on top of the compost heap, reaching for a tantalizing blackberry jewel. Unless you want to land face down in the brambles and lose a hard-won bowl of berries. In which case relax away.

That was not what I wanted. What I wanted was the greatest number of berries for the least amount of blood.




 Finished at last. Soaked through and bristling with tiny thorns in spite of my best efforts to avoid them, me and the outsized wellies plodded towards the house. Out of the wellies, into the  blissful cool, out of thorn-riddled clothing, into dry. Eventually I'll have to wash my haul and add them to the growing stash in the freezer.

 And figure out how to make blackberry jam.

But first - down on the bedroom floor for savasana, my favourite yoga pose. And this time, you'd better believe, I'll have no trouble relaxing into it. 









20 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Love your photos but sadly cannot read the dark font against a dark background.
Our summer lingered. And lingered. And while, winter is here, she is milder than usual and very, very dry.

Marigold Jam said...

Following your advice to use a bright light I up the ante on my screen brightness so was actually able to read your text. As always a brilliant post and I was there with you in those bramble bushes! Savasna eh but certainly not a santosha time before getting to it I guess? Hope the blackberry jam will taste good and remind you of your efforts. What was it my mother used to say - anything worth having is worth paying for and not always in money! Good to see you pop up as I had wondered where you were.

gz said...

A rewarded wander!
Savasana....mmmmm, relax!
Perhaps a lighter shade of brown? Just not blue please, thats completely impossible for dyslexic readers!!

dianne said...

i may be yoga-challenged, but i totally understand blackberry jam ... and it will be worth the effort!

Colette said...

Blackberry jam! What could be better? I have yellow boots like that. Extremely yellow. I prefer the color of yours.

Susan Kane said...

We went "blackbarin" every year up in the hills where Dad kept sows to fatten up. Great memories. Mom made jam and cobblers. Good times. Forget about the thorns!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I love blackberries, even though it's dangerous work picking them. I have a few newish blackberry vines, but haven't seen them do much just yet.

Molly Bon said...


EC - Sorry about that. I think it's an issue when I cut and paste. No challenge in savasana BTW! Just lie on the floor, close your eyes and let yourself drift away!


Marigold - Yes. I've been MIA. It's been six crazy months. No promises, though I'd love to be inspired enough for at least once a week, but I start something and then it sinks into my draft folder and gets forgotten. My mother didn't make blackberry jam. Her specialty was marmalade, but my friend's mother always sent her (6)children off to the fields at the end of our road to gather as many as the could without getting caught and chased away by Mr. Barry whose fields they were. Maybe that had something to do with how delicious her blackberry jam tasted

gz -I'm afraid to mess with it and possibly make things worse. I did join a local computer club so maybe I will soon learn enough to do it right, or at least fix things when they go pear-shaped....

Dianne -see above re savasana and, as far as jam making goes, procrastination!

Colette -So you think faded green is more stylish? I think yellow would be better in my situation as yellow boots sticking up from amid the brambles might ensure earlier rescue than green which would just blend in....

SK - Fun times - and we didn't even have any gadgets! How did we survive?


SAW - we also have cultivated blackberries which are only now ripening. I seem to remember that they take a few years to get established to where you get any fruit. The smaller wild ones have been ripening continuously for weeks now. but there should definitely be hazardous pay for the picker...




Wisewebwoman said...

Love blackberries, best in jam or in tarts. Your outfit should be in Vogue :)

XO
WWW

Molly Bon said...


WWW - lovely to see you here again. I'll bet you did your share of blackberry picking growing up....

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I envy you, thorns and all. We don't do hedges here, so no blackberrying.
They do sell tasteless, cultivated ones in the posh supermarket but I'm not sure why or to whom.

Sabine said...

I discovered blackberries in Ireland, while cycling and walking along hedge rows - they do exist in Germany but were largely ignored in my childhood days - and with it blsckberry jelly, blackperry pie and of course, apple and blackberry crumble.

There are thornless varieties now availbale for gardeners without taste buds.

Molly Bon said...


S&S - Don't envy me! Those thorns are tiny, almost invisible but as aggravating as being stuck through with a dagger (though possibly less bloody.)

Sabine - Childhood summers in Ireland always included blackberries even if only as a snack plucked from a bush while playing cops and robbers...

Pam said...

I love eating nothing enough to bother picking out-of-reach brambles. But then I don't do yoga.

That was a VERY long gap between posts...

Thimbleanna said...

You're so funny -- I can just see you in Warrior 3 -- reaching for those berries just out of reach. Looks like a good haul -- and sounds like savasana was well earned!

Dee said...

Dear Molly, so sorry but all I could read was the one paragraph--in creme--about the berries and the birds. Because of Glaucoma, my vision is compromised and so at the best of times, I may have difficulty. I zoomed in, but that didn't help! And I bet this was a truly interesting posting also! Drat it! Peace.

Molly Bon said...


Pam - It's not so much about the eating as about the thrill of the chase and defeating the brambles. And yes. I seem uninspired these days, or, I start something and then it fizzles and comes to rest in drafts. And I'm not alone it seems. Many of the bloggers I started out with have hung their blog on the back of the door of that old disused shed where blogs go to die. But I'm no quitting yet!

Anna - Not sure about the "good haul." One jar of jam, likely!

Dee - So sorry. Will try not to mess up my next effort!

Pauline said...

Ha! I know whereof you speak. I don't practice yoga EXCEPT when I'm reaching for those delectable beauties that grow j u s t out of reach. Last year I canned all the berries I picked and every time I opened a jar during the winter months, I remembered summer. This year's crops of blackberries and raspberries look to be abundant. Wish you were near enough to come share a jar (and memories of berry picking) with me.

piseth san said...
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Ray Norman said...
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