Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love Living Here

It is blackberry season in the Northwest. Oh, I'm in heaven! When I was growing up, my grandmother lived in a house which was surrounded by blackberry bushes. In fact two whole sides of her house didn't have fences - just really big, giant blackberry bushes. I'm positive that those blackberry hedges kept out far more people than any fence in the world. Maybe they should plant blackberry bushes along the border in Texas?

Unless you live here in the Northwest, you really don't understand the magnitude of the blackberry "problem." They are everywhere! Along roads, along bike paths, in abandoned lots, in parking lots, in everyone's backyard, in everyone's front yards - seriously, they are everywhere!! We don't plant them, they just grow. And grow. And grow. Cities have a budget to deal with the blackberry growth. We live next to a green space and the city comes and mows the blackberries back every year. If they didn't we wouldn't have a yard, we would just have blackberries.

Now, while this is a problem in the sense that they are prickly and invasive and will take over, the upside is that they produce blackberries! For free! Everywhere! Happy day, happy day!

The city doesn't completely mow down the bushes in back of us, they just trim them back severely. The blackberry bushes don't mind, they still produce tons of beautiful shiny blackberries.

Then, they call to us. "Come and pick us! We are yummy! We would taste good in cobbler! We make great jam! Eat us with crepes! Put us in milkshakes! Come. Come. Come to me!"

So, we come. We pick and pick and pick. This year we have picked lots and we still have a month of blackberry season left. I've made jam, I've frozen some, we've had milkshakes, we had them with crepes, we've had them in smoothies, we ate them on cereal. And we still aren't sick of them.

You need lots of pickers, and I have the best right here in my family. Hubby is the best 'cause he's tall. The others are wily, though and have come up with strategies. The best and most useful is the "reaching stick" strategy. You find a stick with a crook at the end and you hook it on the bunches that are just out of reach and pull them down to where you can get them. Didn't I raise smart kids?

Oh, wait! I think I hear something. Is it . . ? Yes, it is! I'm sorry, I'm going to have to go. The blackberries are calling me!



Lynn said...

I miss the blackberry problem. And you are right you just can't understand it unless you have lived there. I had to plant blackberries here in OK and they take a lot of care to grow. Plus the blackberries in the NW just taste better. :)

Heidi said...

Wow! I pay a fortune for blackberries here- I'd love to live there! :)

Jill said...

That is the best part - they are FREE! We stock up in the summertime and fill our freezer full of jam and frozen berries to use all winter long. The bushes are a nuisance, but we forgive them because of the berries!!