Yesterday we woke early and began our quickly-becoming-normal Saturday morning routine. I rose around 6AM, took the puppy out (more to come about the pup), and started coffee. Then I began to gather all the things we would need for the coming day on the land.
-Water and ice for humans and dogs. These must be differentiated and have the ability to stay cold for as long as possible. The dogs have a knack of relocating dirt, sticks, and rocks into their water.
-My daypack Ozark with water reservoir which carries my drinking water. If you fill it with water with a bit of lemon juice in it and then freeze the whole thing, it operates as a cooler and a source of cold water alllllllll day long. Hubby makes fun of my face sucking the straw to get the water out, and I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. In addition to the water, my daypack has four other compartments for a first aid kit, radio, hand sanitizer, seeds (I have a guilty pleasure of taking a seed packet with me every time we are on the land just to see what happens when I plant them where we are working), . etc.
-Lunchbox: Hubby eats a LOT and needs calories to keep him going throughout the day. He is handsome and strong and deserves every bite. 🙂 A typical “land day” for him consists of a breakfast of biscuits with sausage and gravy, a king size sandwich with chips, snacks of protein bars, chips, and jerky, and a large dinner to round off the day. He earns every bit of it and makes it look good.
-All the tools! Every time we go out we need all sorts of tools and equipment.
When I arrived at the land, I opened the car doors for the dogs and they couldn’t get out fast enough, immediately comfortable in their natural habitat. I unpacked the car and Mike arrived a few minutes later, telling me to “get your boots on so I can show you the blackberry bushes I found the other day.”
Before I laced up my snake boots (a safety precaution even though, knock-on-wood, we haven’t seen a snake yet), I grabbed a plastic grocery bag and my work gloves from my car just in case there were a few blackberries ready for picking.
When we were setup for the day, we left “camp” and just a few yards a way we found a patch of beautiful blackberry bushes! We picked as many as we could reach, battling the thorny branches. Many of the berries aren’t ripe yet, so we got what we could and I excitedly gathered them up in my plastic bag. Note: plastic shopping bags are terrible blackberry picking containers because the bag rips on the thorns and you have to use your bandanna instead. I know that now.
When we walked back towards the cars in the “meadow” area, which is a treeless half acre or so, we noticed that there were dozens of young blackberry bushes scattered there! Since the area we were just picking is soon to be underbrushed, Mike suggested I try to transplant some of the young bushes to an area that won’t be mowed down in a few weeks when the underbrushing guy comes out. We know the bushes will likely come back after a year or so, but having some protected would be a good idea.
Mike went to work cutting up a fallen tree and I went about digging up the small, young blackberry bushes. I grabbed my spade and started digging, then realized these thorny buggers aren’t exactly easy to carry the 100 yards I was about to move them. Also, I happened to have some organic potting soil in the back of my car and nothing to carry that in either. Make-Do solution: the shoe organizer in the back of my car lost it’s shoes and found a new job as a blackberry bush/soil carrier. See photo below. 🙂
After planting the baby blackberry bushes (and a patch of pumpkin seeds), I went to where Mike was working on a tree. He asked me to look up a plant, saying “These look like blueberries. If they are, we should clear out the weeds and vines from them and mark them so they don’t get underbrushed.”
I looked at the berries (not yet ripe), the leaves, and the base of the plant. I grabbed my phone and consulted my friend Google. Yep, they look like blueberries to me!
Ya’ll. We have TONS of them. TONS. I did a happy dance and started ripping out grass and vines like a crazy woman. I went nuts marking the bushes with survey tape. The blackberry bushes are everywhere and will come back, but I want these blueberries to stay now!
The section above is just one of the five areas we marked off that are FULL of blueberries. The bushes are pretty low to the ground (internet says this is normal for wild blueberries) and I’m hoping once more sunlight can get to them they thrive even more. We found several more patches of blackberries, too.
In the late afternoon we called it a day and loaded up the very tired pups, just before a surprise summer thunderstorm rolled in.
Last evening I used some of the blackberries to make a blackberry, pecan, and honey mixture to layer on top of brie for my book club gathering. It was a hit and the perfect treat after a berry good day. 🙂