Things over at Ben’s Glen Oaks Farm are literally the berries right now.
Ben is in the process of remodeling his chicken houses and he made the casual comment “I forgot to tell you-Clarence was working on the fans and he said he’s never seen so many blackberries.”
Immediately my ears perked up. What the Rohrer boys didn’t know is that I come from a long line of gatherers. Some very special summer memories were made climbing into the homemade 3 point hitch cart on my Pappy’s little Massey and heading to the back 40. He’d tie a bucket with baler twine around his waist and pick with both hands. Short snippets of song would interrupt the noises of the forest. He was in his element.
I’m guessing he was reliving memories as he picked. His mom was the queen of fruit pies. Hired girls remembered making 30+ pies a week to feed that hungry Rhodes pack. Apparently Pappy learned his berry picking skills from His dad. 200 quart of canned huckleberries from one season. 😅
My moms blackberry memories were fairly detailed. A neighbor bought a new piece of ground and the family took a tractor and wagon to gather piles of berries. “It wasn’t really fun and I don’t remember thinking the blackberries were all that delicious, but I for sure remember it.”
Today I missed Pappy’s song as I picked my way across Ben’s farm.
But the life lessons of the wild berries struck me again:
1. There’s gonna be some thorns, some rotten (berries) and some bugs along the way. Expect it, don’t let it stop you.
2. Ignore the naysayers. Boone (Ben’s yellow lab) sat in the shade and barked his disapproval at my trespassing. But that didn’t steal my joy.
3. Dress for the occasion . There are times that long sleeves and barn boots are the most appropriate style. Light summer wear has its place too-but not in the berry patch.
4. Get sweeter with age. If you ever have a chance to compare a ripe black berry with one that’s not as advanced-you for sure understand.
This mornings jaunt of rambling around the blackberry patch did my heart good. I caught myself singing the same happy tune that my Pappy Reuben sang.
What a beautiful (and delicious) gift God has given us.
Come see me if you’re hungry for blackberry cobbler 🤩