My son Doug is a blackberry engineer. Every year he comes up to his old high school haunts and picks roadside blackberries. They are wild and free and mostly ignored by the locals. The last couple years, his friend, Jose came with him and picked. This year, Jose’s son, Anthony joined the effort, learning how to pick berries like a master.
The idea is to pick at first sign of ripeness and test for the sugar content. Then return in a week or two if the sugar isn’t just right. With so much rain, the berries are fat and juicy, but they haven’t gotten enough heat to develop the proper sweetness. Disappointing. Yet, you take what you get. This pick was only about six or seven pounds, delivered to the neighbors, intended mostly for jam or pies. Doug makes sugarless pies, so he had to add apple to the berries for our pie yesterday. The next pick should be the big one. He goes out with a pruning shears, gloves and long sleeves. He prunes away dead, non producing vines. He cuts off a berry laden vine, drags it out, picks the berries and discards the empty vines in a neat pile. He picks enough for the year and tucks them away in the freezer for Thanksgiving, Christmas and family reunion use. His youngest sister always gets a couple of pounds for jam. The blackberry engineer.
Afterward, everyone headed for the flume to cool off and play a bit.
Three year old Abbie, with mom, Norma, was a bit uncertain at first, but after a while, she too enjoyed the water and the ride.
Dinner afterwards was my bon voyage treat. Berries found their way into ice cream, pie, the fruit salad. And then, there was the mystery cake?
I was busy, doing something on the computer, I walked into the dining room and there was a beautiful cake sitting on my table. I tried to thank the most likely suspects, neighbors Karen and Jan. Ron and Suzy. Nope! Not them. Eventually, I found out it was , Jerry Baumgartner, another neighbor. I didn’t hear or see a thing. The cake was delicious. Thanks, Jerry.