Blackberry Picking.

Is it really this time of year already? Ripening blackberries and
shortening days… I can hardly believe that it is August already.

The four of us spent yesterday evening picking blackberries until just before bedtime. We
ended up with quite a haul, with four focused berry pickers. Jasper
joined us, not sharing his harvest but walking along and nibbling the
low berries off for himself.







Being out picking blackberries brought back a flood of memories of my grandpa. He would punch a hole in the top edge of an old coffee can and twist through a piece of wire. Suspending his bucket from the belt loop of his blue work pants, his hands were free to pick double-speed.

My grandpa and I picked side-by-side for hours in the summers after my grandma died. The skin on his hands, thin with age would snag on the brambles. The backs of his hands were always peppered with blood by the time we got back to his truck. He'd pull out a threadbare blue handkerchief and wipe it away. "Doesn't hurt," he would say.

My grandpa once confided in my mom that he'd finally met his berry-picking match in me. "She out-picked me!" he remarked.

These timeless tasks – foraging, knitting, baking, gardening – connect us with those before. For me these are our culture. Our heritage.

15 thoughts on “Blackberry Picking.

  1. Sara Adams says:

    It was really nice to read your memories of your grandpa today. Today is the 10 year anniversary of my grandma’s death from lung cancer. I think about her often and have many vivid memories to share with my kids. We’ve started celebrating her birthday by doing things that remind me of her. It’s just a good way to pass on those memories to my girls who never got to meet her.

  2. Cassandra says:

    Thanks for sharing that story about your grandpa…it was very touching. I can’t wait to hear what you are going to do with all those berries! Were they wild or did you go to a farm?

  3. Rachel Wolf says:

    Such a lovely tradition. My grandparents were all so important to me. It is one of the reasons we chose to stay in Wisconsin – to allow my children the same opportunity to connect with my folks.



  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Wild, wild, wild. Were going to spend a day at a blueberry farm this week too so well have more cultivated berries in the freezer soon as well. Sage is working on learning to make jam today, many are frozen for winter treats and smoothies, and weve eaten tons fresh.


  5. Casey says:

    What a lovely memory and a wonderful way to spend an evening! I’m going to have to look up and find a blueberry farm here too…

  6. kathy says:

    Oh, lovely. I grew up picking raspberries and blackberries with my grandmother along the borders of their fields (and strawberries at a local you-pick place); I wasn’t too fond of wearing long sleeves and jeans in such hot weather, but it was the only way to avoid getting bitten and scratched up.

    I have many memories with my grandfather, too; he passed away seven years ago next month, and I still miss him. I was very lucky to have spent a lot of time learning and observing some of the old ways with my grandparents; I like to think that my grandfather would be happy to see the ways I’ve adapted some of them today, in the big city.

    Thanks for bringing back great memories, Rachel!

  7. Rachel Wolf says:

    What a wonderful memory. They shape our lives, dont they? My grandpa passed away 7 1/2 years ago. I, too, had such a long time to learn what he was all about. Heres to our wise elders!

  8. Emmy says:

    Yum! I picked blueberries up north with my mama and brother. Such a good activity for chatting/connecting. I can see why picking with your grandpa was so special. Thanks for sharing your memories of him.

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