Jackpot

Black raspberries from the field

Black raspberries from the field

Those that have followed my blog for the last few years know that when berry season rolls around during the summer, everything else takes second place.  The black raspberries are first, in late June, with the blackberries coming in late July. I’ve been keeping an eye out on a patch near the road  and went out today for the initial picking, I think this is the best I have ever done for the effort involved. In under an hour, I picked close to one gallon from a single patch that had to be less than 8’x12′.  Anyone who has picked wild black raspberries knows this is phenomenal.  I felt like I was picking in a commercial plot.  Many of the berries were large – fingernail size –  often with 4 or 5 in a single bunch.  I didn’t even get to the other good patches from last year.  Had I had another hour to spend, I bet I would have gotten at least another 1/2 gallon.  I could barely drag myself away, but tomorrow is another day, as long as it’s not too wet.

A black bear was reported in northern Indiana earlier this month – probably the first in over a 100 years.  He better not come down here and try to claim my berries.  We would have quite the disagreement over that.

Berries, bucks and me

When I pick berries it is not in the carefully laid out rows of a commercial operation. It is out on the edges of our fields and rife with the potential for difficulty and excitement.  There are wild rose bushes to grab skin, hair and clothes and while the blackberry bushes are not quite as lethal, they are not much better.  Then there are the chiggers.  For anyone who does not know, these little mites will drive you to distraction with a red bump and serious itching that lasts for days.  I’ve never seen a snake, but I’m sure I came close a time or two and didn’t know it.

The rapidly approaching blackberry season and the appearance of the first fawn in the yard put me in mind of an adventure my Great Pyrenees mix and I shared some years ago at our last home.  Like here, it had large fields surrounded by black raspberry and blackberry bushes where I was able to pick gallons and gallons of freshly ripened fruit.   She loved to accompany me on my meanderings around the fields, relaxing in the shade when I found a patch to pick.  We  were lazily moving  down the edge of the woods to a little outcrop that was mostly berry bushes and a few smaller scrubby trees.   We had been out about an hour, me juggling three buckets half filled with fruit and her following. 

Suddenly, directly in front of me, a large buck with a huge rack leapt out of the underbrush.  Leaves, branches and who knows what else went flying though the air in all directions as he crashed out of his supposedly hidden bedding spot.  We must have jumped about three feet into the air.  Brandy was so surprised she didn’t make a sound – not even a woof.  We looked on in startled silence as the huge buck bounded away, his sleep rudely disturbed and with vines and underbrush hanging from his large rack.  It was quite a sight.   Brandy looked back at me as if to say What Just Happened?  All I could say was Wow!  After we caught our breaths and our hearts started to beat again, we continued on with the picking, once again treated to the wonders of nature all around us.

Resting does

I’m taking a short break from the art experiments right now for a very good reason.  I just started on a commission home portrait of a cute town home that will take me into the weekend or thereabouts.  I’ll post it when I’m done.