Friday, July 18, 2008

Wild Berry Pickin'


I can remember as a kid getting up predawn [perhaps it wasn't but it sure seemed very early to a young kid] and going 'berry picking' with Grandma Lind.

We would get silver Lard Cans with twine string 'straps' so we could put the Lard Cans over one shoulder and thus pick with two hands. We wore bandanna kerchiefs over our hair and ears, long sleeved shirts, long pants and tennis shoes. I recall that we would get soaking wet from the early morning dew.
Plus we smelled strongly of Mosquito Spray.

I know why we went so early in the morning. Wild berries ripen around the middle of July depending on where you live. July is HOT. Plain and simple. Ever walk in woods that don't have trails and push through the undergrowth with berry briers ripping at your clothes, the sun beating down on you,...humid air...no wind...bugs, and HOT HOT HOT?
Yeah.
That is why you go early in the morning.
Everything happens to you but the HOT.

I took Badger last week and we got some berries. Today, Morris joined me.As you can see we both decided that literally standing in the creek bottom was much more comfortable than standing in the HOT sun.
[we went at 8am and it was still HOT in the sun!]
In fact we walked the creek bottom to avoid the long tall grass and to keep cool.I was wet to my knees from the dew and the rain anyway. I had to chuckle while picking. The berry briers tugged at my old shirt, tore the back of my hands...
and I
was
having
fun.
As I dropped my berries into the 'Blue Bunny' ice cream pail that had replaced my childhood Lard Pail, I smiled.
I hated it as a kid!
So why was I doing it today?
What was wrong, was I purely mental?

Nope. Nope.
Not at all.

My hard work paid off with 2 1/2 pints of freezer jam.

There was my Grandma Lind's madness defined. You picked the wild berries in horrible conditions...and in the middle of winter, you spread delicious wild berry jam on your breakfast toast while looking at the snow blowing and listening to the wind howling.

...and you remember being utterly hot and miserable. But somehow, when that wild blackberry jam melts in your mouth...
you
are
ready
to do it again the following year.

Yep.
Now I understand.

It isn't the getting...it is the eating.

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