My farm homecomings in times past usually no lasted no more than a week, and often they were just a few days long. Nevertheless, each time my family always tried to give me and my former spouse the best experiences, incorporating our interests with what was available to do at the time. Once, it just so happened, we were here at the ripeness of the blackberries, which usually occurs around July fourth. My sister and sister-in-law took us blackberry picking in Aunt Edna’s woods island.
Now, the blackberries are ripe. This morning, my sister and I made the mighty preparations, and we “farethed forth” to gather as many blackberries as two #8 Texas Ware bowls would hold. We rugged up with long pants, socks and sturdy shoes, long sleeved shirts, and sprayed ourselves heavily with plenty of Off Deep Woods insect repellant. We didn’t go into the deep woods. We went to the fence line along the pasture. Berries were plentiful, and as we moved along, our bowls filled rapidly.
Blackberry picking takes no talent, whatsoever. If they are ripe, they fall into a person’s hand easily. Ours were so ready that we lost many to the ground, as we touched the clusters. Mosquitoes were light; the early day was dry and cool; the burning weed was not prominent. We moved along at an easy pace, and were happy with our results.
During that long ago visit, we made Blackberry Jam from Aunt Edna’s Woods Island. A woods island is an area of dense trees surrounded by a cultivated field of crops. Notice them when you drive in the country some time. A lot of fields have woods islands where the trees grew up at dip in the land, or when a huge rock prevented the field from being plowed in that area. This visit, there’s not enough motivation to make jam, and while Blackberry Jam from Mary’s Fence Line has the same romantic quality of Aunt Edna’s, none of us eat much jam anymore, and we shouldn’t, anyway.
While picking blackberries is just the same as in days gone by, life has changed a lot since early farming days. Life has changed a lot since my times on the farm in “the good old days.” For me, the “good new days” are way better, and those berries are going to taste delicious on my granola.