Dealing With An Annual Prickly Situation

by Curt Kovener

The last time I mowed in the wilderness is when I first started to notice them: wild raspberries going from green to their mid-ripe red hue. “About another week” I told myself as I made the mowing rounds along the woods’ edge scanning for more telltale red berries.
I determined that Friday evening would be the appropriate time to begin a harvest of the black ripe fruit. So with a spritz of bug spray and a coffee can wired to my belt, Charley and I set off to the woods’ edges.
Charley was his usually nosey Lab, playful puppy self. Even though the vet says that he is now officially a senior citizen, he still likes to romp in the creek water and sniff all the smells along the way.
It didn’t take the too-smart-for-his-own-good dog to figure out what I was doing. As I stood along the briary edge and picked raspberries he came over and started helping himself to the low hanging fruit. I do not know how his tongue and lips withstand the pricklies of the raspberry briar but the dog was relentless in his quest for more fruit.
Even after I moved on to other berry picking areas he hung around poking his head her and there in the briars looking for berries I had missed. When he was finished he would look around to see where I was working and come trotting over to help himself to the new area.
With the generous rain we received, it appears the blackberry crop will be a good one.
But before the blackberry ripen, the dewberries get picked. Dewberries are ground level blackberries and I noted they are getting red ripe and should be heading to black juiciness this weekend. And Charley will be left in the house. I cannot battle the bending, the briars and him to get the easily picked dewberries.
After the picking expedition I ended up with purple tinged fingers and about 3 cups of raspberries which were washed and await other future harvest in the refrigerator. Ultimately their destination may be a pie or cobbler or just garnished over ice cream.