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blackberries–“luscious” doesn’t begin to describe these berries

You have heard me sing the praises of my own red raspberries, yes, and I’ve long enjoyed the wonderful blueberries that cover the hills in South Glastonbury, CT, but never  until this week have I experienced berries that were positively decadent.

on the way to the blueberries

We were at Belltown Hill Orchards, one of my very favorite PYO (pick your own) places in my area, with our grandsons, planning to pick their fantastic blueberries.  Usually we get to hop on their trailer and get a fun ride to the blueberry patch, but this day we were picking close to the store and just needed to wend our way through the blackberry patch to get to the blueberries.

row of blackberry bushes, beautifully tended, easy to pick

It was there that I was ambushed by a sight of such opulent abundance that I was stopped in my tracks. The blackberries were such as I had never seen, having only been exposed to the wild ones, which are large berries in their own right — certainly larger than red raspberries. Well, these cultivated blackberries looked like a snapshot taken from the Garden of Eden. The berries averaged in size easily over an inch and were dark, sweet, and sensuously juicy with almost a smokey undertone. Pop one in your mouth and your tongue is flooded with flavor. You pause for a moment and wonder if you are in an orchard or a vineyard for wine tasting.

so easy to pick!

I walked past the blackberries to make my way to the intended picking target: blueberries. They were wonderful as usual. In a short 30 minutes, the four adults and 2 children gathered about sixteen pounds. But I couldn’t resist the call of the blackberries. While the rest of the group stayed on task, I returned to the store for a different picking bucket and headed to the rows of blackberries.

a riot of berries

What a treat! Even if I didn’t ever eat any of them, just looking at them was a joy. How nature could produce such a joyous overabundance was amazing. But I did pick; I did eat; I was happy! I will return for more and have plans for a blackberry jam. Stay tuned.

"herbs and raspberries" by s. a. linfert

there will be spring someday

I do like snow, really I do. But maybe this is sufficient. We just got another 15 inches or so; I’ve heard that the Hartford area has had more snow than Anchorage, AK, somewhere around sixty inches this year.  There is a sign posted in front of one of our area churches that reads, “Whoever prayed for snow, please stop!” Guess they didn’t stop. Maybe they won’t stop. But there’s lots of good if you take a moment to look beyond, or around the snow.

herbs and raspberries

It’s no secret that I love my raspberries. Last year’s bounty was a joy and I was happy to share them with any and all. The word goes out to the neighborhood when the raspberries start producing, “Help yourself!” I know that some do and some don’t. But what I never imagined is that my berries would end up as part of an object d’art. In late December I received a lovely holiday card from my next-door neighbor, who is a fine artist, gardener, and an information architect (interesting combination, no?). The centerpiece to the card was the image above featuring, as she described to me, “…your raspberries and my herbs.”  Simple, elegant, almost fragrant.

Today is a great day to share this beautiful image with you. I almost posted a picture of the view from my office window. The snow outside is so high that it now blocks my view. But no, the snow has had more than it’s share of press. Rather,  today’s a day to focus on things more positive, like a picture that holds both beauty and hope in one vessel. Thanks Sandy! You can pick my berries anytime.

both beautiful and practical

There’s another happy thought to share on this snowy day, and it has to do with clearing it all away so that we can go about our business. It’s January; it’s New England. Snow is what we do here, so I’m okay with it, but even “Happytone” (a moniker bestowed upon me decades ago because of my positive outlook) has to admit that clearing it away can be challenging (euphemism for pain in the butt) . That’s why I’m especially grateful to our neighbor across the street who gave us their snow blower earlier in the winter. This snow season would have been much more difficult without their generosity. Will have to double their allocation of raspberry jam next summer!

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