The Race Is On

     Wow, have we been busy. Some people come out to the country and say it's boring, there's nothing to do. That really isn't the case, I have found that generally speaking there's to much to do. These past few weeks the blackberries have finally come in. It has been a race to get to the berries before someone else does. There are a few people that get out and pick the berries to sell them. You can get around $15.00 a gallon for them, the ones who do that seem to be the greediest and want all the berries. This year I have noticed signs posted on the side of the road not to pick the berries. The side of the road is the easiest place to pick. Another tactic for keeping people out of your berries is livestock. If the berries are in a fenced field the owner will move their bull and cows to that field. Cows won't eat the berries. I am lucky enough to have a friend that has plenty of blackberry bushes. They gave Crystal and I permission to pick.      Crystal is my biggest helper during blackberry season. She will get up early with me, before it gets hot out, and go pick berries. She will also go places I won't to get berries! The only draw back to having her as a helper, is that she puts more berries in her mouth than in the bucket. We spent one day off roading in the Jeep looking for berries, only to find unripened fruit. That's when my friend told us to come to her place. She told us about a spot on their property up an old gravel road that was just full of bushes. Crystal and I had seen the road, but we didn't know who owned it so we didn't go up it. When we returned to that spot, we were so excited it was full of bushes. We did some picking there, but we could tell someone had already been there. We ended up with about a gallon of berries. Those berries I made into jelly.

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     A couple of days later my friend called, and told us her husband had found a huge bush in the middle of one of his cow fields. She told me if I wanted to come down that evening he would turn off the electric fence so I could get in there and pick. Crystal was off riding her horse, so Christian went with me. I didn't get as many berries as I had hoped, but it was a nice evening. My friend and her husband went up with us and we all talked while I picked. Christian doesn't care for blackberries, so he wouldn't help pick. I ended up with a little over half a gallon, which I made into jam.

    I really enjoy picking berries. To me nothing beats free food. There are a couple of hazards when your out picking. The first and fore most is snakes, that's the other reason Crystal and I like to get out early. We get out there before the sun warms up the snakes and they get moving. Insects are another one, I was ran off from some bushes one morning by a huge bumble bee. Darn thing just had it in for me! Chiggers are the worst though. We always wear long pants, but we still managed to get a few of those nasty things. The love the spot behind the knee, and they itch like crazy. Someone told me to dip rags in diesel fuel and tie them around my ankles. Then I wouldn't get chiggers, but down here diesel fuel works for everything. Last but not least are the thorns. Sometimes I can pick all day and barely get stuck, other days my arms and hands are covered in little bloody spot. I did have a tiny little thorn stuck in my thumb for two days. That thing hurt like hell.

    This year has been kind of an off year for berries. Normally when we pick blackberries they are the size of your thumb. This year they are very small, we did twice the picking for half the berries. Last year when I picked cherries I got 4 or 5 gallons, this year all I got was a gallon. Crystal and I were so excited this year because the guy that owns blueberry bushes said we could come down and pick some of those. When we called to see if they were ready he said yes, but that there weren't any. He went out to pick and only got a handful. Well there always next year!