I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, July 30, 2012

Berry Picking Morning

We had planned for this day. My friend "MJ", from Wallace, came to pick me up early this morning.
We drove over the Mokelumne River and south toward the farm were we picked berries last year, just after a terrible fire that almost destroyed these poor folks house and everything they owned. This was the post that I wrote on the day of that fire. This is the post that I wrote when we went to pick berries and about the ranch where these folks live.
 When the fire burned, that day, we watched from our house on the north side of the river and prayed that it wouldn't jump the river, or that we would never have a fire like that. Ironically, not three weeks later we had a horrible fire of our own that almost burned our house down. Both this couple and ourselves were saved by the quick work of the fireman, the bombers, the helicopters dropping river water on us and the defensible space around our houses.
So this year, we were invited to come and pick berries again. We brought another friend named Heather, from the gourd club, and we arrived at the farm. The woman told us we could pick as long as we wanted to.
The whole area looked so different from a year ago. The burned area is covered with grass now, dry though it is in the summer. Quite a lot of the trees in the fire zone survived.
We drove into the same shaded area that we went to last year and parked. The blackberries were abundant.
Lots of ripe ones.
More than last year.
As if the berry stickers weren't enough, we also had to contend with these thistles. They were very pretty, but one more thing to avoid in our quest for the beautiful black berry. We watched for snakes and any other creature that call this place theirs.
We picked all morning. It was a hot day and labor intensive. Luckily, there were big trees that shaded some of the area.
This beautiful Valley Oak was so huge. It must have been very old.
It wasn't really shading us, but its presence was like a guardian looking down on us.
We picked berries as the morning got warmer and warmer.
Heather brought these great plastic containers that she had attached string to so we could carry them around our neck, which freed up both hands for picking faster.
This is such a good idea.
Fill up the small container and empty it into a bigger one.

It was a fun but messy job...
We would rest a bit...
And then we would go pick more berries... until the heat and the bugs and the tiredness hit.Then we called it quits.
This was part of what we picked.
I think that Heather had done this before... she was very organized.
Will you look at this. She could have sold them right off the back of the truck. She was really into this berry picking. We had to pull her out of the bushes and make her stop.
But then, she is a young'un and still has a lot of energy.

So, we had a great morning and came home with lots of blackberries. Tomorrow I will put mine in freezer bags and freeze most of them. I'll make a pie with the rest.
Next Monday they will come over to my place and we will have a JAM SESSION. It's fun to make jam with friends. We'll make a mess together, in one kitchen, and have some beautiful jars of jam to eat all winter. Yummmm!


  1. Hmmmm blackberry jam is one of my favorites Farmlady,unfortunately the pickings aren't at all good in Phx, everything fries here!

  2. Friends, outdoors, and lots of fresh blackberries.....now that's my choice for a day well spent! Toss in some blackberry jam and it's a perfect summer :)

    It's good to see that Nature is healing after last year's fires, and that the large, older tree was safe.

  3. smiles...love some blackberries....i know that work though, my mom used to use our energy when we were little to get it done...ha...mmm...love me some berries though....

  4. oh yes, I remember your fires of last year...and who you worried about......wonderful people you have there...to pick berries with....I have never had a blackberry pie, and now on low carb eating plan...never will :(
    I just saw a formula to determine a tree's age ....
    ....glad you are having fun days Farmlady

  5. Blackberry cobbler... mmmmmmm good! I never made a cobbler, a pie or jam, either, but I sure could eat it. I remember my mom and aunt making jam but I had older sisters that helped and I got shooed outside to keep from being underfoot so I missed out on that cooking education. I do remember the stained fingers from the few times I helped to pick berries at friend's homes but being city born and raised I didn't do that very much at all.

  6. I'm so envious. My blackberries haven't taken off yet, because they suffered some serious chicken abuse. I love fresh blackberries tho! I also miss oak trees, they are so beautiful. I will have to settle for our enormous 'backyard' here instead...btw...want any goats?

  7. Oh yum! Love berries of every kind. Found you through Suz. You are the one that talked about your goats! Your pictures are beautiful!

  8. Oh yummy yummy yummy! Happy August and enjoy your juicy berries. Tina

  9. Can I come...I'll bring the fog! I miss blackberries..hot does make good fruit. Love your blog.

  10. One of the things I really miss from CA. I didn't have to travel our road and yard were full of them in Felton. The kids would go out to get enough for a pie and come back with a half of cup and full bellies with red stained faces and fingers. It's a beautiful thing.

  11. Oh those berries look so good. I can almost taste a slice of blackberry pie. Unfortunately, I'll have to imagine it. I'm 'on he wagon' trying to drop some weight, and the berries aren't quite ripe around here yet. I'd give it 2 weeks or so...

  12. You're a little ahead of us on the blackberries and it's making my mouth water for pie! Here's a little idea for your jam...I throw in a few heads of lavender and then put it thought the food mill. It's not so much as a spreading jam but more of a spooning jam, great with yogourt and ice cream!! And the food mill gets rid of those pesky seeds. That tree is gorgeous!


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