In which ownership never enters the equation of blackberries

I had a conversation one time with an officer of the law:

"Where do you think you are going," he asked in an I'm-pretty-sure-I-won't -believe-the-answer-anyhow tone of voice, "with a pickup truck, a bashed up wooden pallet from the hardware store, and a bunch of coffee cans?"

(The fact that I was married to the officer at the time of the conversation should give you a clue about the state of my marriage. I consider myself fully recovered now)

My now-former husband was a city boy from Maryland, where (according to him) everything belongs to somebody. He could not ever grasp the (apparently local) custom of lack of blackberry ownership.

Here in the Swampland, blackberries not only don't belong to anybody, but also, all blackberries belong to everybody who is crazy enough to donate enough blood to the vines in order to harvest them.

In rainy summer years, the birds claim dominion over the blackberries, which are nutritious but bitter. Crows especially enjoy fermented bitter berries, and will eat them to the point of drunkenness, which is a special form of hilarity that we won't get to enjoy this year because the berries are just too good.

In hot dry sunny summers like this one, the sweet, juicy berries belong to the first person savvy enough to notice that they're ripe...and clever enough to carry the tools around in her truck ready to grab them.

The tools?

You guessed it: a bashed-up pallet from the hardware store, and a bunch of coffee cans.

My berry-picking tools get loaded into my truck during the first week of August so that I'm READY for berry picking on short notice.

This year, I took Willy with me. He is a huge fan of the pallet, which allows access to those super-sweet berries at the very top of the bushes.

We'll freeze a bunch of berries for mid-winter smoothies, and eat them by then handful while they're fresh. But for "opening day" of blackberry season, it's important to celebrate with the proper food:

Blackberry pie.
Oh yeah. Life is good.


  1. Those blackberries are HUGE! The ones we used to pick in PA were never that lush. Save me a piece of pie and I'll bring the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream!

    WV = undeu
    The French word for underpants

  2. YUMMMMM! No blackberry bushes in TX. I remember picking them from the back of my pony as a kid when I lived in Oregon. One day I saw a big spider in the bush, and it scared me, I took off on my pony and never returned to that bush. lol

  3. LOL..great post. I've made two jars of blackberry jelly so far. Yesterday the gardeners cut back the vines so I'll have to try out you pallet system if I want to get any more. And I know what you mean about the universal blackberry law (they are owned by no one!) ... but, when I was a girl I was riding on a hot summer day and stopped to pick some blackberries from the side of the road when this grouchy old farmer came out and said I was stealing his berries! He gave me quite the talking-too and so I guess that law is not always universal:)

    I just did my blackberry post... my dog LOVES them and picks them straight off the vine!


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