Blackberry Time!

Blackberries are ready.

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The blackberries have been bright red for what feels like forever. They grow in the fence line which I climb over on my way to the barn so every morning the bright red berries stand out on the green leaves, saying, “Not yet, not yet”. But finally some of the red have turned dark and they are sweet to eat.

We did not plant these berries. We have not watered them. We have not done much for them. It is like free food. Until you start picking them and you are reminded that NOTHING is free. These plants don’t give up their fruit so easily, they bite as I pluck the sweet berries. They have thorns which seem to snag and sink into the skin and hang on.

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But thorns or no thorns, we pick berries, usually as a family. The kids start out with great enthusiasm. But after the first few buckets it starts to get hot, fingers and arms get a little scratched (remember these are biting berry bushes), and there may be a pesky deer fly or two. But Chris and I cheer them on, “We only have to fill our containers, then we can go home.” The younger two might not make it. They often disappear to explore the nearby pond or go sit in the shade of the truck.

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Finally our buckets are full. A drink of cold water, a shower and thoughts of blackberry cobbler with ice cream fill our heads as we pile into the farm truck.

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The cobbler recipe I use comes from The Pioneer Woman. I love her site!

Pioneer Woman’s Blackberry Cobbler #1:

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups blackberries (frozen or fresh, even better if you had to pick them yourself)

Preparation:

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. (We do not have a microwave, so we just melted the butter in a sauce pan on the stove top). Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.

Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter: distributing evenly. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly.

Serves 8

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What is your favorite thing to do with blackberries?

 

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Mulberries, Hay and other Delicacies

Do you have mulberries where you live?  Do you even notice them?  We have them here.  When I was a kid in New Minden we had one in our back yard next to the gate that led to the alley and Mrs. Ruth’s yard.  There was a crotch in the tree just right for a 7 year old to park in and make himself sick eating berries.  I did.

Today we baled hay in the bottom where mulberry trees abound.  I picked a handful while I was walking out to where dad was ready to bale.

I picked another handful when the baler went under a mulberry tree.

I picked yet another handful for good measure.  Don’t mind the hay hook.

I also took inventory of the dewberries crop.  Not as many as I would like to see…

…and the blackberries.

We pick and freeze as many as we can get my hands on but we really don’t go past the edge of the woods because there’s a bumper crop of poison ivy out there every year.  This year is no exception.

Each spring we clean out our freezer and find forgotten gallon bags of berries and make a big batch of mulberry, dewberry, blackberry, strawberry mixed jam.  Yeah.  It’s pretty good…better on ice cream.

So anyway, we were out there to make hay.  I’m a little allergic to hay.  On the third pass I started sneezing.  By the fourth pass my hankie was soaked.  Dad runs the baler clockwise around the hayfield.  Both of dad’s main fields are on a slope so it’s an interesting ride.

Between the two fields in the bottom and the barn lot we put up another three wagons of hay.  We have had an unusually dry spell so this is far and away the best first-cutting hay we have put up in years.  Isn’t it pretty laying in windrows?  That hill made about 65 bales.

Hang on…ACHOOO!!!!