Thinking about Blackberries

Today I am thinking about blackberries.  This is because I am doing my annual, mid-winter pruning of the bases of the vines in our yard- trying to keep them at bay.

I am thinking about when I was a kid, and we would pick the berries at my soon-to-be step-father’s house- eating a good percentage of them and getting our hands, clothes, and faces purple.
I am thinking about when I would walk back and forth to school and stop to eat blackberries in a vacant lot- not minding too much if I accidentally ate a bug inside- not really understanding why adults did not like them.
Thinking about all the blackberry jelly my grandparents have made from their vine in their yard and how good it tasted.
Thinking about “Still Life with Woodpecker” and how I moved into a house in a ravine completely surrounded by blackberries and feeling a little like the woman in this book.
Thinking about all the time I have spent using a machete and pruners trying to keep them under control.  Thinking about how Tom had a blackberry thorn go through his glove, his skin and into his finger joint, and how his finger swelled, and how he will never have the same ring size on that finger again.
Thinking about how a couple spend significant money hiring us and our goat to eat the blackberries growing on their property where they are hoping to build their home.
Thinking about how much our goats and sheep love to eat the leaves of these plants- how they are like candy to them.  Thinking about how much the bird like the berries too.
Wondering about the native blackberries and if they will survive in competition with the European plants.
Thinking about the amazing blackberry wine aged three years we had at a wine tasting last Friday- how it was one of the best wines I have ever tasted.
Think about drinking blackberry liqueur made from wild blackberries and vodka and given to us by Alta for keeping her ewes extra time during the snowstorms.   Thinking about how I drank it and watched the inauguration balls and got tipsy.
Wondering about if there are others areas of the world where there is such a love/hate relationship with this particular plant.
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8 Responses to Thinking about Blackberries

  1. HisTek says:

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on blackberries. I, too, grew up around blackberries and remember all the fun as kids picking, eating, and throwing them at each other. And the blackberry “tunnels” we formed at a neighbors house. That is one thing I miss living in north central Washington is the wild blackberries. I have only seen a couple blackberry bushes over here and I don’t think they are native. I was tempted to actually buy some frozen ones at the grocery store. But I didn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Having grown up in King county- whoever heard of BUYING blackberries?!!Jackie

  2. Donna says:

    I am glad you enjoyed my comments on blackberries-just a train of thought I was having while hacking away at the vines. I, too, would have a hard time buying blackberries-other berries are fine but not them.

  3. Dave says:

    I have a love / hate relationship with blackberries… I remember watching my old chocolate Lab eating them. She would sight in on where the berries were, then close her eyes and reach in with her head and pull them off with her teeth… Then pull back and chew them up with such an obvious look of enjoyment on her face 🙂 On the other side of the coin, we have the Shetlands who enjoy the small tender shoots and leaves. In their quest for enjoyment, they keep pushing further and further into the vines, until their wools gets so caught up in the stickers that they cannot move. Then they panic and struggle, sometimes getting more wrapped up in there. Ultimately, we have to go rescue them, which causes them to struggle all over again… Oh, did I mention that I always get at least one thorn through my leather gloves into my hand while performing this service ??? 🙂

  4. Donna says:

    Thanks for the comments Dave. I have not noticed any of our dogs liking the berries but forgot all about a blackberry stem almost killing Spike- our black sheep that was caught in the far end of our field in the dark of winter and we did not notice for one week. Definitely love and hate.

  5. Tina T-P says:

    Ok, spill the beans – how are you scheduling in a trip to England, Ireland AND Scotland into your busy schedule. The Shepherd is Green with envy! We didn’t have blackberries in Eastern Washington, but can rememberm stopping along the pass one year and filling shoe boxes full to take home and make into jam. T.

  6. Donna says:

    That is the beauty of my current job- I can take extended time off. We have a college student daughter of our usual farm sitter willing to farm sit for us during her summer break. So it looks like we might be able to pull this off. I think we’ll only have 3 weeks though, so we may need to trim the plans a little. I already cut out a trip to Sweden, but I REALLY want to see the Shetland islands.

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