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