Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Best Things In Life Are Free. Or Almost.

I have been taking my phone with me on my walks which I never used to do but since I got my new phone, I have been. Not as an emergency-use device (although god knows I could fall down and not be able to get up which would make having a phone very handy) but for the camera abilities. I mean- what if I see something AMAZING and need to take its picture?
I am a little vague on what exactly that might be (I am thinking large snake) but today I took a picture of some of the blackberry bushes I walk past.

If we can just keep getting these nice afternoon rains, we shall have preserves and pies this year. I noticed that the sign for the blueberry picking place is up but it's gotten so expensive to pick there that it's hardly worth the effort. I should have my own blueberries and I do have two small bushes which don't produce squat due to my lack of sun. I used to have five plants but okay, okay, I let three die from lack of water, okay?
Yes. I kill plants sometimes. And it is possible for a plant to suffer from both lack of water and not enough sun.

Believe me.

I love and adore the idea of free fruit for the picking, especially if that fruit is blackberries because what in this world is better than blackberry preserves and pies and cobblers? And...free! But. There is no such thing, really, as free fruit, at least not here in North Florida because picking blackberries is just about the most torturous activity I can imagine. It's always so hot that you think you'll die for one thing. For another thing, the bushes are so deadly prickery that you simply must wear long sleeves and long pants, otherwise you'll end up looking like the extra in a slasher film. And of course, there are the snakes and yes, I am serious, snakes love blackberry bushes. I don't know why.

So there you are out somewhere in the broiling hot sun (because the more sun, the more berries, of course) wearing long sleeves and long pants and sturdy shoes, still managing to scratch yourself up with sweat running down your face and arms and body and gnats feasting on the blood where you've scratched yourself and you're wearing a cut-down gallon-sized plastic jug tied around with your waist with some sort of cordage and you pick and you pick and you pick and you reach farther and farther into the prickly bushes, your hand going blindly into what could possibly be a nest of poisonous vipers and by the time you get a decent amount of berries you really don't want to do anything with them because they are precious, paid for with your literal blood and sweat and each one, each and every berry worth about a dollar.
Oh yeah. I forgot- mosquitoes.
Maybe a dollar and a half per berry.

But I am hopeful that it'll be a good year and there will be so many that just picking from the most easily accessed bushes will bring a huge bounty of luscious fruit.

It could happen.

But really, I didn't start out to write about blackberries. I was going to write about May and Lily and Owen and Gibson coming out today which was a treat. I was actually on my walk when my phone rang and Lily said, "Where ARE you?" and I said, "I'm on my walk," and she said, "But your shoes are on the back porch."
"Those are my garden shoes," I said. "I am wearing my walking shoes."
And so I was. They are the same exact style and brand of shoes but when I wear out shoes for walking purposes (about once a year) I retire them to be garden shoes and so it's easy to see where the confusion came in although if she had actually checked, she would have seen that the shoes on the porch have soles which are not much attached to the shoes themselves which would make walking almost impossible but which works fine in the garden if I don't mind getting my socks really dirty, which I don't. I only wear them in the garden for ant-bite protection so it doesn't really matter.
"I'll be home in about twenty minutes," I said, and I was.

Owen and May were in the hallway putting a puzzle together or, to be more exact, Owen was forcing May to put a puzzle together while he watched. Lily and Gibson were in the library, doing what they do, which is nursing. Owen is very bossy. This is just the facts, Jack. He is the boss of us and I would like to say with the exception of his grandfather, but that would be a lie. He's the boss of Bop too. Mostly. Not always.

When we went outside, he wanted May to get on the back of the four-wheeler with him. So, of course she did.

 But how can you argue with such beaming happiness when his wishes are fulfilled? Okay, he looks a little too triumphant there, doesn't he? And why wouldn't he be triumphant? He's living the dream- a man on his cycle with a pretty girl sittin' behind him.

We ate some lunch of salad and leftover soup and it was just so fine to have some of my girls at the table and Owen beside me, eating his cheese toast and Gibson in my lap, gazing adoringly at his mama.

After lunch Owen took off outside and we all followed him. His mama handed Gibson over to May and grabbed that big boy up to get him ready to take him home. I caught this one and it made me happy:

Owen may adore his aunties and even tolerate his Mer-Mer but it's his mama whom he loves with all of his heart. He hugs her up, that boy does. She's his MAMA.

May was happy to get some Gibson time in.

He still looks like Morty to me when he isn't flashing those goofy grins. He's losing his baby hair now but he's still a damn good-looking kid.

He's eight weeks old today and already getting so long and lanky.

Genes will tell, won't they? Yeah. I'm talking about my May, too.

So it was a very fine day and I've got those fresh pintos that Mr. Moon shelled last night simmering and brown rice too. I put a piece of bacon in the beans. So sue me. I'm a Southern Woman and I grew those pinto beans and I chopped up a nice piece of bacon and threw it in there along with a Vidallia onion and salt and pepper. I can't wait. Pintos are my favorite bean and I've never had fresh ones.

Mr. Moon and I have had our evening cocktail hour beer out by the chicken coop, watching the baby chicks. A freaking feral cat got in the coop awhile ago and went after the teenagers but Mr. Moon scared them off. It's a cat-eat-bird world out there, folks. I think we've named two more of the chicks. The yellowest baby of Flopsy's is being called Marilyn (after Marilyn Monroe- the most famous blond of all times) and the biggest banty has been named Bertha. She's huge. Unless she's he in which case, well, he'll probably be Bert. Or Bertram. We'll see. Time will tell.

Which is true for most things. Or, actually, all things. 

I sure hope we keep getting rain. I sure would like some blackberries. There is nothing in this world like blackberry preserves. And like I said, they're free.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Remind that May that I adore her.

  2. I remember going black berry picking and then having my mother make pies. They were delicious.

  3. We have gazillions of blackberries on all 4 sides of our place here at Honeysuckle Hill. And some raspberries too. The berries are crazy this year, uh-huh, and I'll be freezin' and jammin' like a madwoman.

  4. Another great thing about blackberries -- they grow all over the world. I was excited when I moved to London and found blackberries on Hampstead Heath. I thought, "These are just like the blackberries I picked in Florida!" And no snakes or mosquitoes! (Somehow the snakes and mosquitoes make them taste extra special, though.)

  5. I would skip the blackberry picking for free and play with Owen and Gibson and play like we're having tea and your prune cake or cheese biscuits.

  6. We have blackberries on hedges bordering the road in North Yorkshire. Free to pick for those who don't mind being seen picking them, because only poor people pick from the road bushes. But hey, I did it in Belgium when I was a single mom with 3 boys, and I did not care if people saw me. So I keep doing it, for the sake of the old poor days. ;o)))
    It's such a shame to let that gorgeous fruit go to waste!
    Hurraah for Owen, leader of men.

  7. I love May's outfit!

    I'd love to give you a blackberrying solution, but I guess it's still really hot even early early in the morning.

    Perhaps you should come to Ireland :)

    OR invent a special berry picking device, something that can pinch deicately, on a pole :)

  8. I am so jealous of you and your too much heat and shade and your salads and soups and babies and boys. I could have them all too I suppose, except for the heat although it gets hot enough at times. I would like to be on the edge of a little village rather than the edge of the city - the edge, of course, being much wider now than 20 years ago - in fact, we are not at the edge at all any more.

  9. Growing up in Northern California, my mom had raspberries, blackberries, apricot trees, white peaches, regular peaches, lemons, cherries - my hands were always stained with something.
    I hope you get more rain and bushels.

  10. That's why if the kids want the pies, they have to go to the creek and pick the berries.

    What are beans without bacon? my Sweetie would ask. His mama kept the can of bacon grease on the stove, too (ours is in the fridge).


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