Picking Blackberries

One of the first things we did when we moved here was to go blackberry picking. My cousin tipped us off on where to go and we figured it would be worth a shot.We got a decent bowl worth the first year. The next year, due to no rain or snow all winter, we picked one cup of tiny, bitter berries.This year? Well last week we made our third trip up to go berrying (4 if you count the first trip up to see if they were ready, but they weren’t), and we ended up with just over 4 gallons of blackberries!!We love being able to forage at times to help supplement our food. We’re still learning what all is available in our area and how to use it, but we’re pretty thrilled with the blackberries!We finally found “our spot” and loved going and hanging out as a family. The first time we gave the kids buckets to help pick, but on the third dropped bucket of berries (that of course immediately got stepped in), we had them help us fill our buckets until they were just done and released them to the pull of the creek.Ione loves the blackberries…usually. She’ll eat and eat them until she gets a “soury” one and then she’s done.The first two times I got tired out and sick early into picking (the joys of being pregnant?!), so this third time we went up with the idea that I’d sit with the kids and we’d picnic, and then I could go between picking and resting. Cameron did the main picking this last time so we could stay for about 3 hours and enjoy our spot, listen to audio books, pick berries, and play in the water. It was a fabulous day!We don’t use fancy picking gear. The kids and I had gardening gloves (we need to get some for Cameron), we all wear long pants (jeans specifically), and those who can stand them (so the boys) wear long sleeve shirts to give any bit of protection against those wicked thorns! Then for picking, you can see we use super expensive and fancy collecting buckets. 😉Really, they just wanted to get in the water right away, but I knew we had to pace ourselves so we didn’t have cold and wet kids right away. They weren’t too happy, but learning patience is a good thing. Cameron grew up listening to Rabbit Ears Radio and we have a number of the books downloaded to our phone for car rides. It was so fun and relaxing to sit in the forest and listen to Robin Williams read “Pecos Bill” (one of our favorites), and relax to Rumplestiltskin (the music and voice are so calming). Finally it was time to let them play, and I grabbed my bucket to finally give my contribution to the day. 🙂We’re SUPER excited about all the blackberries in our freezer and can’t wait to make smoothies, milkshakes, pancake toppings, blackberry mint jelly (we found wild mint up there too!), syrup, pies, tarts, and anything else we can think of. As excited as we are about our harvest this year, spending time as a family in the “wilderness”, picking blackberries, playing in the water, and just being together is something I hope our kids remember through the years!

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