Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Briar Patch

The first week that Trevor and I were here without the kids, I stumbled across a Christmas tree farm that also had 5 acres of blackberries in the summer. Blackberries are actually not one of my favorite berries, but there is a completely nostalgic value to them that I can't quite escape.

When I was a girl, Gramps had a long row of blackberries that he grew. They climbed the rudimentary trellis as they matured, and in the summer we would all pick berries until our hands and arms were scratched and bleeding from the briars. They were huge berries, not like the ones we would find wild in the woods around their house. They were good right off the vine, and they stained our fingers purple as we picked and devoured them, enjoying the juicy sweet but tart flavor until we were full.

When our buckets were full, we would bring them in to Granny and she would work her special magic in the kitchen, making blackberry dumplings, cobblers and jelly. The dumplings were my favorite, and the very thought of them takes me back to 1982 when I was 10 and the summer stretched endlessly in front of me.

All of this flashed through my mind when I saw that farm, and I decided that I would take the kids blackberry picking when they got here. Today was the first day that we've been able to get out there, so Gracie and I got up at seven and drove over. Nathan wasn't interested in going, so the girls had some special time together.

As we walked up and down the rows picking berries and chatting with other pickers, I felt like a child again. Gracie caught on quickly, and was proud of her progress as she made her way down the row, occasionally calling out and letting me know when she found a particularly big one. It's only rained once for about 5 minutes the entire 3 weeks that we've been here, but this morning the clouds were looming on the horizon. We finished up and went to the shed to have the berries packaged and weighed. All in all we picked about 3 quarts, which was more than enough for our little family.

Not long after we got home, the sky opened up and the rain came down in heavy sheets. We had timed our trip just perfectly, and set to work washing and picking over the berries.

Gracie ate one after they were washed, and announced that she didn't really like blackberries. That's okay...she'll always have the memory of picking blackberries in the summer with me and she'll eat them for that reason alone.


luvmy4sons said...

Looks as if the Lord is already blessing you in your new home and providing more memories to hold close to your heart. Loved the pictures. What a sweet looking little girl! Blessings this holiday weekend!

Mocha with Linda said...

What fun! I've never been a big fan of blackberries either, but I've always wanted to go berry picking!

Lisa said...

Such a good Mama! That looks like it was so much fun. It is amazing to be how much she looks like my oldest daughter with the strawberry blondish hair. Maybe we are related somewhere down the line :)

A Stone Gatherer said...

What a fun day! I love the sound of blackberry dumplings! YUMMY! And you are a young one! I graduated in 1982!

Anonymous said...

Our neighbor had blackberries around their house (not big, but still sweet and good). We would go down and pick them and bring them home. I remember the stained fingers! ha. Adorable picture of your daughter. Sounds like a nice memory for the two of you.