Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blackberry Summer

If you double click the photo you can get a better view of that bee on my blackberry blossom. Taken with my iPhone camera this morning.

There is a blackberry patch in our side yard that I find very annoying.  Annoying because you can't even get near a blackberry patch without having it attach itself to you. And if a thorn even touches your skin--at least my skin--I get a red, really painful sore there.

But we had a big blackberry patch in our first California house, way out back, and after my parents died I discovered this one way around back of our second house.  What was it with my father and blackberries?

Ye Olde Fort Chapman blackberry patch.

I just found out.  It is the state fruit of Alabama, Dad's home state. I guess not only the stars fell on Alabama.  The blackberries did too.

The blooms are out now on mine, and there are lots of bees around them, which I understand is a good sign that there will be abundant fruit to come.

I've decided to set up a trellis for the vines so that they can climb up along the fence and--one hopes--stay the heck out of one's way.

But in order to do this work I've had to buy a special pair of extra thick gloves, to keep the thorns out of my hands.  I plan to put on my work jacket, even though it is a warm day, zip it up to my neck and button it at both wrists, and wear a heavy pair of jeans and boots.  Just to tie up the bloody bramble!

There is a big black bee on the center blossom in this photo.  The blossoms have a variety of bees buzzing around them.

I'm not even that fond of the fruit--not that I'll see any of it. Between the birds, the raccoons, and the squirrels, I'd be surprised if I'm able to pick enough for one lousy fruit cobbler.

But they say rabbits like to hide in there among the thorns for protection. Isn't that what Br'er Rabbit did? Okay, so I'm happy to provide a retreat for the Yard Rabbit. Besides, it would be far more painful to tear out this patch--more thorns to threaten--than it is to just try and contain the brambles.

Oh, and I read that one should never pick the leaves for blackberry tea after October 11.  The devil comes down right about then and--I'm not making this up--pees on them and makes them into a poison.

I find myself wishing my father had purchased BlackBerry stock, instead of blackberry stock. But, alas, we cannot have everything.

My berries cluster black and thick
For rich and poor alike to pick.
I'll tear your dress, and cling, and tease,
And scratch your hand and arms and knees.
I'll stain your fingers and your face,
And then I'll laugh at your disgrace.
But when the bramble-jelly's made,
You'll find your trouble well repaid.

Cicely Mary Barker  (1895-1973)

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Don Meuler said...

They smell awfully nice, fermenting in the sun... Have you considered blackberry wine?

Robin Chapman said...

If the critters around here leave any for me, I'll be right on that!

Ken G. said...

The devil comes down, pees on them and turns them into poison?! Where on earth did you find that gem? Lucifer is missing out on a major opportunity here in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Robin Chapman said...

Just Google blackberry legends and its all right there. I don't make it up--just report it! Anyway, the Devil is always having some kind of party up there in Oregon, isn't he?

Robin Chapman said...

... And remember, that is only after October 11. The Devil, I mean.

Don Meuler said...

Your yard bunny looks kind of like a surprised Corgi...