Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blackberry Pickin'

Jerry and I were blessed with a three acre field so that we could plant a large garden. Our garden is on the old Donnell farm in Auburntown. It is owned by Marsha Donnell Ayers who inherited it from her dad, Jim. We only planted 2/3 of an acre.

My step-grandmother, Lillie Donnell Harris, owned a large part of this farm when I was a child. It was the farm where she was raised. Every year we would go to the farm and pick strawberries in the late spring. We would have a garden up there as well, so I spent a lot of time on that piece of ground. We would work all morning and then go to the house for lunch. Granny's sister, Aunt Mary, would always have a huge lunch cooked for us. I remember sitting at that table like it was yesterday. It was a long, walnut harvest table with a drawer at the end with a glass knob on it. Uncle Hugh would sit at the head of the table. His false teeth would rattle when he ate and it was funny to me. I got in trouble with Mama more than once about those teeth!

Since the garden spot hadn't been used in more than 30 years, Jerry had to bushhog the land before we could do anything else. After that was done, he proceeded to work up the ground to get ready for planting. Of course, I am afraid of tractors so Jerry couldn't be up there by himself (at least in my opinion). One afternoon I was bored so I got in the truck and rode around the fence line trying to find the old gate. I not only found the gate but I found that almost the whole fence line was filled with blackberry bushes! I love blackberries in cobblers and jam and they are hard to come by.

I have been watching those blackberry bushes for weeks now. Slowly, a few are getting ripe. I have picked about 2 quarts to date, but when they all get ripe, look out! Chiggers love blackberry bushes too. I found out the hard way.

I have also heard that snakes love to take up residence in those bushes as well. My mode of operation for picking blackberries is this:

1 Put on jeans, long sleeve shirt, shoes and socks, hat and gloves. (I look like an old lady)
2. Drive truck up to the fence row, leave it running (in case you see a snake and have to flee).
3. Get hoe from back of truck just in case.
4. Pick the berries that are ripe.
5. Move truck and repeat.

As crazy as this sounds, it is really fun! Work, but fun. There is something about working with your hands that is very rewarding. It is the same feeling you get when you mow the yard and then sit down in the rocker on the front porch with a cold glass of water and admire how good it looks!

Ecclesiastes 3:13 says: That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. (NIV)

I intend to find satisfaction in every cobbler and jar of jam that comes from the blackberries in that patch!


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