Sunday, June 27, 2010


Mr. Moon and I did go pick blackberries today. We drove to a place a few miles away where I knew there were hundreds of feet of bushes but there wasn't one berry. All dried up, all gone. We drove back to the little place right down the road where we've been picking and we got out of the air-conditioned car with our sawed-off plastic milk jugs tied around our waists and we went to work.
And oh, honey's. What work it is.
We picked in silence. We stopped now and then to drink ice water. We went back to it. We eventually spoke and both of us agreed that we were about done. DONE! It was so hot. The thorns were so cruel. The long-sleeved shirt I use to pick in has bloodstains on it. I take a piece of an old diaper with me to wipe the sweat from my face. It's unbelievably hard work, this taking of "free" food.
I listened to This American Life on my Walkman, trying to go into that place of non-feeling.
Finally, when Mr. Moon was bent over, panting in the heat, I said, "We gotta go. This is enough."
And I think we are done with the blackberry picking this year. I have about three gallons of fruit now and I have made several cobblers and a pie too. I have scared deer while picking and I have not seen one snake.
In other words, it's been a fantastic year for blackberries.

When we were at the market downtown yesterday, there were a few vendors selling domestic blackberries. The fruit was huge and I know that there had been no thorns on those bushes. They sold for four dollars a pint. When I am picking the wild ones, I think that they look like the nipples of goddesses, these berries. Some of the nipples are large and some are small, but they are all dark and sweet and full of juice. When I bring them all home and wash them I think they look like caviar. The fruit/eggs of the bush.

And tonight, as I washed my berries and put them to drain and then into a Ziplock I admitted to myself that I need to make at least a few jars of preserves. They will be seedy as hell and the seeds will get stuck in our teeth but I am not straining this fruit through cheesecloth to make it more easily eaten. I want and need to preserve the fruit in a way in which it will keep. So what if it takes work and pounds of sugar? I don't care. I have a need to cook it down, to sterilize jars, to fill them and seal them and hear the sweet sound of canning-success- that pop as the lids suck down.

And next winter I will make biscuits or bread and I will bring out a jar of those preserves and I will open it (another pop) and we will smear the sweetened fruit onto the bread and summer will have been preserved. I will close my eyes and taste the preserves and remember our summer's picking. I will taste the sweat and I will taste the blood. But there were no tears. None at all.

Mr. Moon has been working all afternoon on a Miata which which he got in trade. He came in a few moments ago and said, "Come on, drive this thing for me." It's so tiny and he's so large that he can't depress the clutch to shift gears unless he opens the door.
I am not kidding you.
So I did. I took us down the road, going through all the gears and I told him I wished I could have the car for awhile to drive. It's a convertible. It's tight, it's fast, it's darling.
But I can't. A car seat has to go into the back seat. The Miata has no back seat. But I can see Owen and me driving down the roads, the wind rushing our faces and hair, big smiles on both of our faces, he in his big-boy car seat, me in the driver's seat, the radio on the Oldies, Mick Jagger singing about Satisfaction, the sky above us, the road below us.
But I can't. It's not legal and it wouldn't be right.

I have to say though that it sort of charms me that I am the type of grandmother who has a need to pick and preserve fruit and also the type of grandmother who would love to take her grandson out on the highway, get our motors running, looking for adventure.

I'll stick to the preserves. No pun intended. I'll buy sugar at the store tomorrow when I go into town to go with Lily and Owen for his nine-month check-up. And I'll tell him stories about how when he's older we'll go through the gears in a tiny convertible, the wind washing our faces. And I'll also tell him how much he's going to love to eat pancakes and biscuits with blackberry preserves on them next winter.

Ah. It's been a beautiful weekend.
The blackberry picking is over, I drove the Miata. It's time to heat up last night's incredibly delicious eggplant Parmesan and maybe watch another episode of Northern Exposure. I've slept long hours and dreamed of giving birth this early morning to another beautiful baby girl. I caught her myself and felt every bit of the stretching, release, love.

Maybe it's all been a dream, this good, hot full blackberry moon weekend. If so, it's been a good one.

A good dream from the Church of the Batshit/Chicken Shit Crazy.



  1. Oh amen please! All the berry picking had my mouth watering...I think everyone should have at least one try at berry picking...don't you? Pick a berry, eat a berry, dripping juice all over stained hands and clothes. Isn't it funny what to use for picking berries with? I thought about it and a friend who use to let us pick from their land had us use you a plastic basket with a string attached to it that we wore around our necks...long string that hung to the waist...oh some good memories you conjured up for me Ms. Moon! And the Miata ride sounded real nice on a hot day.....

  2. Ellen- As my friend Juancho at Big Ring Circus says- homemade breeze. Okay, I have to admit that Mr. Moon got the AC in that car working like a meat locker. It was awesome.

  3. Ahh, so nice! Love the image of you and Owen with the wind in your hair.

  4. Ms. Moon, we have wild black raspberries ripening now! I make syrup the kids love on their pancakes. I never tried cheesecloth, but I bought two conical metal mesh strainers and pour the cooked berries through one and use the other to mash out the pulp and juice. A few seeds come through, but 95% of them are left behind and can't get stuck in our teeth. I found Smuckers seedless black raspberry jam in the stores, which I can dilute and use in a pinch, but at $3.00 a small jar, I'll risk a few thorn pricks, mosquito bites and spiders to get the free ones. Nature's gifts are the best. Enjoy your berries! Too bad about the zippy car. I gave mine up for a minivan a long time ago. I miss it!

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  6. (spelling issues)

    Vrrroooooooooommmmm! I've always wanted a sporty little car. Always said I'd get it when the kids were grown but I better wedge it between them becoming adults and them having my grandchildren!

    I'm glad there were no snakes in the berries. I'd die for some cobbler. Well, no, I would not die. But it sure would be nice!

  7. Y'all are killin me with the stories of juicy berries and jams and syrups. Yum! I'll take mine pressed in the middle of a thumbprint cookie.
    P.S. I think I'd prefer a snake over a big green worm on a plant. : )
    P.S. Glad you had a wonderful weekend and like the release dream.

  8. Oh Ms. Moon, we are domestic soul sisters. One of my very greatest pleasures in life is the preserving of free food.

    My spirit will linger in your kitchen when you start the jamming, though I'll need to keep enough of my spirit to win this ugly trial - so probably a bit of your spirit will be in the courtroom with me to get safety for children. Fair trade?


  9. YUM. When I come this winter (and YES, I am coming in the winter), I can't wait to have that jam on a biscuit....oh yes.

    I miss my granny every single day. I do. I am jealous that Owen gets you for his :) What a lucky pair you are.

  10. Jo- Me too!

    Mel- Well, black raspberries sound divine. And I did have a Mini Cooper for several years. It was great. But I do like my Honda.

    Ms. Trouble- Yeah. Better do it when you can. I can't believe I'm dealing with car seats again but you know what? I love it.

    Michele R- Yep. Tomato hornworms are bigger and scarier than a lot of snakes.

    NOLA- My job is easy. Yours- well, let me just say you are going to need the angels dancing on your side.

    SJ- I will make the biscuits. And Owen? Well, he makes ME lucky. Damn. I haven't seen him in two days and I'm jonesin' bad.

  11. Oohh!
    "Maybe it's all been a dream, this good, hot full blackberry moon weekend. If so, it's been a good one."
    Fabuloso writing, Lovey!!
    I can just see the story of the G'ma who cans blackberries and also takes the boy for a dream ride in a fast little sports car as a children's picture book: Ms Moon and Owen Hit the Road...the first of a series =o)
    Not quite full moon kisses...N2

  12. I would like to find a good grove of them here. I like to make cobbler and my wife makes great preserves. It sounds like a good day.

  13. what a lovely life dream, your weekend. Your lovely weekend helped my weekend along in a happy, easy way too. Sometimes your post feel like dreams to me, in the way they float and stay with me throughout the day, seem like something I experienced somehow in another dimension, full of wonder and sensation and love. They soothe me the way certain dreams sometimes do.

    I have wild blackberry bushes right in my back yard. I picked the first little batch last night and thought of you and Mr Moon. And your wonderful blackberry post, how ancient it is, the plucking, the plop.

    I loved your talk of preserving. The pop in winter of the jar lid. I hope you'll take some pics of the process. I love the STEAM.
    IL love the way you write, tell stories, and live your life.
    I love you.

  14. wild berries.
    everything about them is poetry.
    distilled sunlight.
    agony and ecstasy.

    yes,i love this about your grandma-isms too. you will take this boy places, no one else can.

    life is grand.

  15. amen:-)

    lovely post...i pick blackberries to each year to cook them into marmelade...BUT..u have yours allready..but here are non will take another month until the berries are grown..sigh*

    so..some will be just marmelade and some will be confiture(pressed through a cloth) because mini2 dont eats anything work work..but i love this kind of work...

  16. N2- My May is the one who should do children's books. She not only writes like a dream, she is an illustrator/artist of unbelievable talent.

    Syd- It was a great day.

    Bethany- Girl. You warm my heart. You do. Thank-you. I love you.

    Rebecca- And isn't it wonderful? Yes. Thank you as always for your beautiful word-poems. You are a jewel of light and color.

    Danielle- Yes. It is good work, isn't it? And you are a good man to press all the seeds out for your little mini2.

  17. Mr. Moon in a Miata makes me smile.

    Love you tons,


  18. I have been away from my blog reading lately and reading every single post you wrote while I was checking out was like a feast to me.

  19. I've never liked blackberries and the thought of canning or preserving has never crossed my mind but your beautiful descriptions makes me want to try both.

  20. those berries look delicious.
    i love your dream of a baby girl. truly amazing. and i love the image of you and owen cruising with the top down and the wind in your hair.
    i hope your preserves are delicious, as i'm sure they will be.


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