I love blackberries. I picked blackberries with Mom, Aunt Gracie, my cousin Rodney and Grandma when I was a kid. Back then we picked blackberries on Grandma's land. We traveled up an old rutted out coal bank road. We picked berries in the ditches, on the hillsides, near the pond and anywhere else we found them. Berries had the habit of growing in the hardest to get to places. We carried coffee cans and water buckets to put our berries in. We put on our rubber boots, long pants and long sleeved shirts. They protected us from the briers and snakes!
And Grandma used her hanky a lot to wipe the sweat off of her face.
That was then and this is now.
Now I pick blackberries in my yard. I still wear my long pants and long sleeved shirt, even when it is 95 degrees outside. And sometimes I wish I had one of Grandma's hankies, too.
To be a blackberry picker you have to be in pretty good shape. You can not have bad knees, bad hips or a bad back. You have to be able to stoop, stretch and crawl.
You have to be able to get down on you knees to find the berries hiding near the ground.
You have to be able to crawl under the vines to get to the berries underneath.
You shouldn't be afraid of critters such as, worms, spiders, tics and snakes. If so, then stay in the house where it is cool. I think this little inch worm is kinda cute, though.
You have to have good eyes to find the hidden berries. They like to hide behind leaves.
You need to put a little table in the shade to set your tray of berries on. If you sit your berries on the ground, they will attract ants. And when you bring them inside and place them on your table, the ants will crawl out and start walking around.
It is a hot and tiresome job. But, the rewards are very delicious!
And, I almost forgot. No matter how ripe that berry looks, if it doesn't want to come off - don't pick it! No matter how tempted you are. I have found that the berry knows best. It knows when it is ready to be picked. My mother in law used to tell me that you could tell by how the berry felt if it was ready to be picked or not. I thought she was crazy, but she was right. I now also have the touch. But, I must confess, I sometimes pick when I shouldn't and I am usually sorry. And, that berry ends up tossed on the ground after I get a closer look at it.
I bet by now you've guessed what I did today. Have you picked any berries lately?
Go here and check out a couple of my blackberry recipes.