The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Free Food....For the Picking

Through absolutely no effort of our own, in fact, through our neglect, we have been blessed with free food for the picking this year. Along many of our fence rows and into some parts of the yard, we have been blessed with an abundant crop of dewberries and wild blackberries. They're everywhere, free, for the taking.

The catch? You have to be willing to brave the thorns on the plants, the briers, bugs and possibility of snakes or other critters lurking there about. You have to be willing to sweat, you know, do some work, to enjoy this wonderfully sweet, wholesome bounty.

I invited over three different neighbors to pick dewberries for their families. They really enjoyed this treat. One neighbor brought her small children to pick with her, which I thought was great. Her oldest daughter, a four year old, ate them as fast as she could pick them and left with a purple stained face and a smile.

The next batch of free berries, the blackberries are just now starting to get ripe. I didn't get any pictures of the dewberries, I just picked them, froze a couple of quarts, and we ate them. Straight off the vine, some chilled with sugar, and at Frank the connoisseur's advice, some were sprinkled with a little powdered sugar. They were great. Now we look forward to the next batch.

We also have a small patch of tame, thornless berries that are looking very promising. This is another example of a plant that has to be strong and independent to live here because it will have to survive neglect. I didn't get last year's canes cut down after they finished producing. This would have allowed the plants' energies to go into growing the new canes for this year's crop. Maybe I will get that done this year. But again, in spite of our neglect, we have food, waiting to be picked.

 








Over the years we have heard a couple of comments from folks here and there that have stuck with us. When I think of the free bounty we are blessed with this year, I remember these comments. The first is, "When is the government going to bring me some water?" This was after a natural disaster had occurred. The person speaking had done nothing to prepare for this disaster that had been long predicted and tracked as it moved into the area. This person was just sitting on the porch waiting for 'them' to come and bring them everything they needed and wanted. The second person was waiting in line at a post office talking to a friend. Her comment was, "Who is going to feed my kids this summer now that school is out?" She wasn't being callous toward anyone, she wasn't being funny, she was being serious. You see, it wasn't her responsibility to feed her kids, that was a job for 'them'.

Did we work hard enough to pick all of the free berries here this year? No. There were many that ripened and fell from the vine for nature to consume. Did I feel a little wasteful? Yes. Were there other things in life that took precedence at the time? Yes. That, and some good old relaxation.

This is one of those experiences that makes me ponder. Free for the picking. How many people would jump at the opportunity to work for free food and how many would sit on the porch and wait for it to be brought to the table, prepared and ready to eat? How did we get to the point where there are such distinct differences in these two groups of people? One group braves the thorns to reach the prize, one groups waits for their 'share' to be redistributed from the efforts of others, and presented before them. What will happen when they have to wait and wait and wait and wait, and nothing or nobody ever shows up? We have seen cases where there are those that don't wait very long at all. They tend to go out in mass and take whatever they want.


How long before this scenario of working and waiting is no longer sustainable? How long before the system implodes? How long before we return to, "If you don't work, you don't eat."? It gets closer everyday. Pick this day what you will do and how you will live. Don't let others pick for you, or you may be left waiting, and waiting, and waiting.........

Until next time - Fern

20 comments:

  1. The sad thing is that this mindset was created by handouts.

    When we first moved here my daughters were always able to find berries. Not so much the last few years, not sure what happened to them.

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    1. You're right, Sandra, it is sad.

      I don't remember the berries being as numerous as they have been this year. One reason is that we had to have the fences dozed off and replaced when we bought our place. It had a few strands of barbed wire that was fine for cows, but we needed a 'goat' fence. Now our fence rows are harboring nice rows of wild berries. Yum!

      Fern

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  2. Fern, bless you for your work ethic and honesty about life. Too many people are so selfish that they never see anyone or anything but the end of their own noses. Sadly, those with children will pass that same attitude on to the next generations.....woe to all of us because that is really happening in our society. It makes me so upset that we are losing so many freedoms because of our government wanting to take over every aspect of our lives. Where did that come from?? Evidently it has been slowly evolving right in front of our noses but we did not see it until now when it is blatantly in our faces! How sad that our country has lost its morals, integrity, compassion, love of God, and the list goes on & on. Those of us who know what life is intended to be will just need to keep on setting good examples, helping others as we can and PRAYING like never before that the Good Lord will set us back on the right path before it is too late for all of us. We must never give up hope and trust in the Lord. Your blog is the best "good examples" on the internet. Thank you for doing what you do to encourage us all to keep working and doing our best to make this world a better place to live and raise our families. I am just a grandma in MN doing my best to keep my family on track to lead the good lives they were put on earth to lead.......it gets discouraging that so many outside influences affect us all, but when we keep our eyes focused on God, we are blessed. Donna W

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    1. Things are changing quickly, Donna. So much so, that it's hard to keep up with it all. Thank you for your kind words. We hope that in sharing, something here will help someone in some small way.

      Fern

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  3. I always enjoy your down to earth, practical, common sense wisdom. One of my fondest memories as a kid was donning a long sleeve shirt, and long pants, sturdy shoes and venturing into a briar patch along with my Grandma and Aunt to pick berries. It was hot and we did a lot of sweating, but those berries sure tasted good. I imagine Gran and Auntie made jam from the berries, but I just remember eating them. 'Sweat Equity' shall we say?

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    1. The berries are very good, Joy, and I actually think the 'sweat equity' makes them taste better. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  4. Good post! (Like always). The "Free Stuff Army" is very prevalent here. People just want everything given to them without any effort from them. The "if you don't work, you don't eat" is one if my favorite bible verses. Rings true.

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    1. Thank you, SFG. It concerns me how prevalent the two groups are becoming, the workers and the waiters. The differences in perspectives seems to grow larger everyday. Take care.

      Fern

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  5. When I was growing up, we had a large green bean harvest. My Mother canned and froze all that we needed. There was still lots left on the vines. My Father called up the road to a neighbor and asked him if he would like to have some green beans. He said "Sure". My Father told him to come down and pick all he wanted. He said he wasn't interested. He wanted us to pick them and deliver them. He wasn't going to pick free green beans. They rotted in the field, except for the dried beans we gathered. He wasn't interested in doing the work, we weren't interested in feeding him. No work, no food!

    Ralph

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    1. I fear for those that will not do the work necessary to live, Ralph. The future may bring them a very rude, unfortunate awakening. I can only pray that it will not be a fatal mistake. Thank you for sharing this with us, I appreciate your comment.

      Fern

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    2. They wouldn't even come to pick their own free beans?! Who wouldn't come to pick their own free beans? For pete sakes.

      I was once told that I could go out into a pea field and pick all I wanted before morning - when the field would be harvested. It took a long time (and taught me never, ever to plant BUSH peas. Oh my aching back!) but I ended up with a full grocery bag. WOO-HOO!

      Just Me

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    3. There are many people that won't pick food that is offered, it's just too much work. I will happily pick for the 'little old ladies' at church that raised a garden for years, but just can't any more. That's a different story. Even one of my 76 year old neighbors came over and picked dewberries.

      We once had the opportunity to pick broccoli from a field that didn't meet the buyers quality requirements. We went home with several large trash bags full. What wasn't picked by the folks around there rotted in the field. We were very grateful for the 'free food'.

      Fern

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  6. We also have some spots on our little homestead with "free" food; black berries that just abound on the bushes. Of course there are thorns to deal with but worth the effort. I can't possibly gather all those berries but I feel certain that the wild birds and bunnies will enjoy what we don't gather..... and that's as it should be. I invited our neighbor to come gather as much as she wanted. She came but after she encountered one thorn she decided it was too much bother.

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    1. Isn't this free food great, Shannon? There are so many things that come very easily to all of us, especially food, now days.

      I was telling Frank yesterday that sometimes I think it would be nice to just 'be a girl' and not have to worry about how much food we gather and preserve against a downturn in the economy, or in our lives. Interestingly, he reminded me that the ease with which we live now, with so many conveniences and so few concerns for survival, is not how most people throughout history have lived. History tells the story of having to provide food, shelter and protection for one's own family, because no one else was going to do it for you. The ease of our times is the exception to the story of man, not the rule. How long this exceptional time will prevail is not for me to predict. But, just like watching a storm come, it appears the end of this exceptional period of history is on the horizon. Many people may notice a storm, but not heed the warning the dark clouds bring, so it will be with our time.

      Fern

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  7. I, too, have faced thorns, possible snakes, and heat stoke to pick berries but mine were for my mother who is now 93yrs young. Just two days ago she helped me weed some in the garden and was a bit upset that she couldn't do more (it was way too hot when she was here) but she was raised in W. Va. and worked all her life. She lived through the depression and said that her family never knew there was a depression. They lived on a farm, were poor, but raised all their own food except for coffee and a few items for baking such as sugar, soda, etc. Work is its own reward; idle hands and all that :) Take care and enjoy God's bounty.

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    1. You're right, Deborah. Work is it's own reward. Well put. Thank you.

      Fern

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  8. I'm a little late to this party - I just saw this post. Everyone has such fun stories about going into the briar patch or the bramble thicket for their tasty morsels!

    You're so right about even "free" food requiring the work to go and get it. When I go berry picking, I put on a long skirt, high muck boots and long sleeves.

    Then I say a little prayer - "Please let me get my picking done today without turning over a wasp nest...or getting bit by a sleeping groundhog...or getting too close to the 4-foot wide anthill.

    And let me get prickled a little less today."

    Amen.

    Just Me

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    1. The blackberries are ripening now, so it's time to go pick again. The first batch of dewberries I picked was in a short sleeved shirt. After I came back all scratched up, Frank reminded me I needed a long-sleeved shirt. It took several days for my arms to heal up and look presentable again. I have found I can pick a lot more wearing gloves. Then the thorns don't even get my hands.

      Thank you for sharing, Just me.

      Fern

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  9. We pick blackberries every year at a local river. I can and freeze them. My husband makes the best blackberry pie anyone around here has ever eaten. I've told many local people about the berries at the river. They seem uninterested. Oh well, more for us.

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    1. It is interesting. The differences in people surround many topics. I'm glad you know where a good source of free food in your area is located. It is to your advantage to know the where and how of obtaining extra food for your family. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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