The other day I glanced outside my bathroom window, and saw that the blackberries were up.
Our house is a solid 2008 neighborhood. The backyard, such as it is, was flipped but then none of the lots ever sold and no houses were ever built. The result is that there is a several acre spread of treeless red mud.
In true succession forest fashion, the freshly cleared land was invaded by first weeds, then brambles and small trees. The brambles were all blackberry bushes.
I'm not sure if they're all wild or if someone who owned the land before had real cultivars, but the berries are juicy and sweet.
And since the bank owns the land, they're ripe for the plucking and free for the taking.
Fresh fruits, such as wild berries, are good for you. They also cost an arm and a leg at most grocery stores. One tiny cup of blackberries at my local grocery story is about three dollars; it drops down to two fifty if get them frozen with extra sugar.
So whenever a natural bounty like free blackberries appears, I go for it. (I also love picking my own strawberries off the vine at the local farm, or picking blueberries from bushes in the mountains for a dollar a bucket.)
The backyard has several hundred brambles. Some of them are in bad areas and don't make it past May, but ones lucky enough to grow in the shade of other plants have big, fabulous berries even as their canes are drying out.
As any berry picker knows, the best berries are often hidden inside the bramble, so you have to risk a few thorns to get to the good stuff.
After about half an hour in the hot Georgia sun, I had three cups of blackberries and had eaten more than a few straight off the canes. A little sugar and corn starch, and a pie crust later, and those three cups of free berries turned into a blackberry pie to share with my husband and my friends.
Part of me knows that one of these days, our incomplete neighborhood will be finished out and the brambles will be gone.
Until then, I'm going to enjoy a lot of free berries on the bankster's dime. They won't even notice they're gone.