I am picking blackberries one handful at a time. Let me explain.
Thirteen years ago I spent several months on bed-rest as I awaited the arrival of my last child. During those long and tedious weeks of gazing out the front window waiting for both spring and the baby to arrive, I became well acquainted with the flowering pear tree and the birds that would light there to partake of the berries left over from winter’s long reign. I remember the delightful day that the Burpee catalog arrived. If the Burpee catalog had arrived then spring was surely coming and that meant that my hopes of delivering a healthy baby were fast approaching. The pages became dog-eared as I poured over each entry on the colorful pages. Finally as my day of deliverance approached I placed an order. I had been on a pilgrimage to make it through a tough pregnancy and the reward for my endurance was the gift of a thorn less blackberry. Three in fact. I placed the order and a couple of days later I cavorted off to the hospital to deliver a bouncing baby boy.
There is nothing in this world that compares to having a baby. It is divine. So much so that I will not wax poetic in this post, but will save it for another time. His arrival eclipsed the memory of a mail order purchase made so hopefully in the days before his birth and so, it was with great regret that I stumbled upon my purchase in the garage WEEKS after its arrival. Yes weeks! Someone had brought in the mail while I was at the hospital and had thoughtfully stowed the Burpee package on top of the freezer in the garage. I didn’t hold much hope as I opened the package and I nearly cried when I saw that two of the plants were clearly dead. But there was one small green sprig of life on the third plant and I practically ran to the backyard to find a place to plant it.
I always planned to buy more bushes to add to the one that beat the odds and decided to flourish but somehow it hasn’t made it to the top of the priority list. Maybe next spring. For now I delight in the handful that I pick every other morning and it reminds me how lucky I am to have arranged for the safe arrival of a 13 year old who went 6 for 8 at a baseball tournament last weekend and who loves me so much it is tangible.
What do I do with my handful of berries? I am stingy! I wash them and dry them and freeze them individually and when they are frozen I add them to a large freezer bag waiting for the day when the large bag is full and then I make a batch of blackberry jam. If you tune in later this week I would love to share one other great recipe—Blackberry Lemon Bars.
Note: As soon as I have harvested the last of my blackberries I will cut the fruiting cane to the ground. A lot of gardeners will suggest burning these canes to prevent them from becoming diseased. It is important to use sharp, clean pruners. Leave the non-fruiting canes (supported) for fruiting next year. When you cut the old canes down it will send a message to the plant to produce new canes. These won’t fruit next year, but they will the following year! Patience—it’s worth it.