The girls and I went blackberry picking yesterday with some lovely friends of ours. I always look forward to the berries being in season during the summer. I have such fond memories of picking berries with my grandmother when I was a child. We'd be up early, trying to beat the heat of the day, and with buckets in hand head out to find as many berries as we could carry. I can remember always wondering why she insisted on wearing long sleeves even though the heat was sweltering and thinking it was so silly. Though now that I'm the adult (covered in scratches from those darn thorns) I realize how many berries I must have missed,while trying to avoid the thorns, that she would have to go behind me and pick herself. After all, if we were going to have enough berries to make jelly and cobbler we certainly couldn't leave many behind.
I laughed to myself today while I was thinking of those days and realizing that perhaps I didn't do as much picking as I would like to think I had. Maybe, just maybe, I spent a great deal of that time sitting on the tailgate of the truck eating the berries just nearly as fast as they were picked - like a certain small helper of mine did today. Regardless of how much help I actually was back then, I really loved being out there with her and obviously she was happy to let me believe she couldn't have done it without me.
I love taking the girls out to pick berries with me, and a big part of me hopes that these are the memories from their childhood that they will cherish, and a tradition they will continue.
I think spotting this little guy right next to us while picking will help them remember this season for quite a few years to come. Goodness he gave us quite a surprise. After our close encounter with him we decided it might be best to take the kids to a slightly clearer area to finish picking, and my girls were more than happy to relocate - after getting a good look at him, of course.
We moved over to a nearby fence row that was covered in blackberries and thankfully fairly clear around, giving the kids a better chance of reaching the berries, and decreasing our chances of any more surprise visitors. It didn't take us long to fill our baskets with this many berries waiting for us.