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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

    by catwho on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 03:51:06 PM PDT

  •  I have blackberries in my yard (7+ / 0-)

    They always ripen right around July 4th. A lot of berries are grown in No Cal and at our Farmers Market they are very reasonable in peak season. I've purchased them for as little as six boxes for ten dollars and they are available for most of the summer for two dollars per box for raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 03:59:49 PM PDT

  •  Next year we're going to (8+ / 0-)

    try to grow blackberries in our yard. One of my colleagues did it (she is a transplant from Washington state, and just couldn't live without berries in her yard) and got a fantastic yield this year. It's a crop that generally does well in Texas.

    I just regret that I don't live in raspberry country. If there's a better taste in the world than ripe raspberries straight off the vine, I haven't found it.

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 04:14:43 PM PDT

  •  Already! Wow that's early, lucky (6+ / 0-)

    Do you ever look at a blackberry bush and think, "That's $100,000 worth of fruit." I definitely do that because the markup is just crazy.

    We have tons out in California. I pick them and freeze them and make an oatmeal topped cobbler all winter. Mmm...

    Also, they're just beautiful all around. Blackberries=happiness.

  •  They Were Everywhere on Our Property and Neighbor- (6+ / 0-)

    hood when we lived in rural Puget Sound. We loved being able to pick them when they were the absolutiest ready to burst with sweetness.

    Pretty sure we have them here in Ohio but I haven't seen any around where I can get at them.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 04:29:56 PM PDT

  •  The blackberries seem to be doing well (5+ / 0-)

    this year. I took a drive down by the Mokelumne River and they are all in full bloom. The bushes are on both sides of the road and there should be plenty of berries for the taking in a few weeks.

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 04:32:13 PM PDT

  •  Woo hoo :) (6+ / 0-)

    I missed mulberry season, but the black raspberries are in season here, along with the strawberries.  We've socked away about a gallon of strawberries and almost 2.5 quarts of raspberries so far towards jamfest 2012.  (waiting til it gets cold out to make the jam, since it's so stinking hot over the oven.)  I even thought about hitting a 'u-pick' farm for more this year, but the 'walking boot' I'm stuck in with a partial tendon tear rules that trip out.  I won't be out of the boot until after the season is over.

    It's been hot and dry early, though, and my garlic is drying out fast, so I'll end up picking those early, and the heads won't be as big as they could.

    •  There is a mulberry tree in the yard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catwho

      of the house we are renting.  In the next microzone over, the mulberry fruits are already ripe; I expect we're next.  I've never eaten a mulberry, do I'm looking forward to trying them.

      Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

      by aravir on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 06:45:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, your season is early! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, weck, kbman, Larsstephens

    We are just getting blossoms! We get blackberries in August and September and I pick gallons from the brambles nearby. Last year I froze some, made pies and jam and my new favorite, Blackberry Cordial. Put a quart of berries in a half gallon jar and fill with brandy. I use Christian Brothers or another inexpensive brandy. Cap and put in a dark place for a month. Strain out the berries and lightly sweeten the dark purple liquid with sugar or agave syrup. Makes a great Christmas gift, good with soda for a refreshing summer drink or over ice cream.

    Try organic food, or as your grandparents called it, food.

    by madame damnable on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 05:16:57 PM PDT

    •  Mmmmmmm ! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman, Larsstephens

      My sister strains the juice left over, and just boils it down to a syrup for Ice cream....Keeps it in baby food jars in the freezer for special desserts.

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

      by weck on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 05:38:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yum! And yes, it's early but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman, Larsstephens

      ... our brambles are just starting to ripen, and if we don't get a good rainstorm in the next week, many of them will dry out and die before they are completely ripe.  Because we've had rain a few days ago, enough berries were ripe that I gathered enough for my pie.

      Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

      by catwho on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:40:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here the wild ones are called black caps. I lost (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, kbman, Larsstephens

    all my peaches and apples to the warm-cold-warm weather, but I had a bumper crop last year and there are enough jars left.  I am on my last jar of blackcap jam however, and if it doesn't get too hot and dry, I will have tons to pick in a few weeks.  Freezing and making the jam later is a good idea, I may try that this year!

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

    by weck on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 05:17:01 PM PDT

  •  I planted two bushes last fall (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, Larsstephens

    My sister gave me one for my birthday and the nursery told me they wouldn't bear fruit unless I planted two, so I bought another one.

    This year they are growing wildly and one is taller than I am. I don't think it was a good idea to plant in the front yard. Do you think it can be transplanted to the back?

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 05:54:24 PM PDT

  •  Have to go and check my secret (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman, Larsstephens

    patch! Although my bushes in my yard aren't quite ready, my area for wild blackberries might just be ripe...it is about an hour south from here in west-suburban Chicago.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:10:10 PM PDT

  •  Ours come much later here in Oregon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    They are also exceptionally prolific - they are literally an invasive species here.  Unlike when growing up and living in the mid-Atlantic area, out here there are far more blackberries than the birds and other wildlife can possibly eat each season.  Probably over half the local crop just withers on the vines.

    Last summer was particularly good.  There were a few rains at key times which helped plump the berries.  I picked them at a park with a boat landing on the Willamette River.  It was where I would exercise my dogs, and during picking season I came home with 2-3 gallons of berries every time I took them out.  I ended up canning about two dozen quarts of juice/pulp and another 30-some pints of jam.  I love mixing the juice with yogurt and oatmeal in the morning.  Good healthy stuff too!  Lots of antioxidants.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:52:24 PM PDT

    •  yeah, where are you that you are picking ripe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kbman

      blackberries this time of year? early June...

      I'm not even sure they're flowering yet, here in Eugene... the feral stuff in the utility right of way at the back of the lot (most of them come from a neighbor's yard into the ROW) are putting out suckers like mad but there's not going to be much crop there this year. neighbor just chopped their way back to their fence to put in a storage building, and probably took out tons of the ROW crop, 8-)

      we expect blackberries more in August here in the Willamette Valley. my 2-crop raspberries are in bloom for the first-ies; the fall crop runs Sept-Oct and is much heavier than the early summer... will have to see if we're still here to harvest that one this year, 8-)

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 12:06:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm in North Georgia n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kbman

        Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

        by catwho on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 04:28:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I like to get as far as possible from roads (0+ / 0-)

        for picking.  I've seen folks who have pulled over an parked to pick from the batch at Beltline and the NW Expw.  There is no way I'd want to eat those berries, raised as they were on car exhaust and road dust.  The spot I go to is way out River Road, almost to Junction City, and then a good ways off the main road.  

        I recently moved back into Eugene from Harrisburg, and have noticed that the ones in our backyard have been blossoming for the past week or two.

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 10:40:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Spent my childhood picking wild blackberries (0+ / 0-)

    My mom would make preserves which were out of this world.  She still goes out to Inverness on Point Reyes to pluck off a set of bushes in what passes for downtown there.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 06:47:55 AM PDT

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