Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ode to a Berry

As I climbed out of bed this morning and was stumbling toward the kitchen for a shot of joe, Miss Brenda raised up on one elbow and asked, "Wanna go pick blackberries before it gets hot?"

This was an unusual request. Miss Brenda rarely makes a sound before eight A.M. and it was well before that hour.

But, there are a few things that will get my bride up and at 'em early in the morning. Blackberry picking is one, and lucky for the rest of the family and a few fortunate friends. One of the few culinary skills Miss Brenda learned from her country grandmother (and there are, sadly, many she didn't) was how to make blackberry jams and cobblers. There is nothing this side of heaven that tastes like Miss Brenda's blackberry jam on a hot buttered biscuit, and her blackberry cobbler with a scoop of ice cream is to die for.

So, as much as I had rather be doing something else, I will not jeopardize my first bite privileges by not participating in the preparatory phase.

Blackberry picking is not for sissies. The "rewards' for wading into a blackberry bramble include scratches, chigger bites, and possible encounters with those long slithery fellows with no shoulders.

It has been very dry here this Spring and the berries are small. But better small berries than no berries at all.

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