Posted by: Jim E | April 20, 2011

Blackberry ALERT…What Already???…Yup…

Last year it was about the first of May that blackberries were in full flower…so this date for seeing the first flowers is probably not unusual…by the time we even knew that they were blackberries they were in full bloom…and they are just starting right now…April 20…we have been watching this year so we saw them earlier…but just the fact that we see them already is amazing to me…I’m just not used to having all this new growth and blooms this early…in Minnesota we would be hoping for snow to be gone…and I mean no more snow falling from the sky…I know they had some today or yesterday…it goes fast but I know what they are saying…”Enough already!”…that’s what I always felt…

But here in Arkansas we have so many blossoming flowers, bushes and trees it is almost more than I can take in…some yards are just overwhelming in their beauty…so when I saw the blackberries yesterday…I thought I had to send out a blackberry alert…last year we waited for them to form berries…it was June or so, if I remember right…and we went out and picked some as soon as we could…remember, in the South they grow wild…they are like weeds along the side of the road…I will send a couple of pictures…

But I guess they grow even more prolific and wild in the Pacific Northwest…when I followed Matt Green last year as he walked across the country…and as he got further West…he came upon huge blackberries all along his route…here’s a picture he posted in Washington state, on August 15, 2010, on Day 142 of his trek from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon…lots of blackberry pie and cobbler out there…but the South is no slouch concerning blackberry pie and cobbler…lots of places you can get blackberry pie or cobbler with breakfast, lunch and dinner…or as some say, breakfast, dinner and supper…when we go to Branson, Missouri we always go to McFarland’s…it’s a restaurant there…and always have blackberry cobbler, no matter the time we eat (you know, a good breakfast deserves dessert)…it is some of the best I have ever had (if we don’t count Aunt Dorothy’s blackberry cobbler, on “the farm”)…and those in “the family” know what “the farm” means…you know, “the home place”…

I remember Judie telling when they went to “the farm” when she was young and they would go blackberry picking…Aunt Dorothy had them tie baling twine, soaked in turpentine or kerosene, or something, around their ankles and I think, wrists…long pants and long shirts…to keep chiggers from biting you…I always thought that was a wives tale…well, it is a wives-tale…none of that helps…the fact that you wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt does help…and if you tie twine, turpentine or kerosene soaked or not, around your cuffs does keep chiggers from crawling up you legs…now the truth be known, I didn’t even know if chiggers existed…aah, they do…last year we went blackberry picking…ignoring Judie’s story…I went in shorts…tee shirt…and if you don’t know if chiggers exist…let me tell you they do…

Chiggers are not ticks or bugs…they are mites and are so small you can hardly see them with the naked eye…over 5,000 could line up on this page and there would be room for hundreds more…they mostly live on reptiles, birds and mammals…they are not looking for humans…but there I was…and once they have a target…they race over you like crazy…looking for the softest tissue on your body…and if you do not wash them or rub them off your body right away…you are in for days of intense itching and really no way to stop it…they do not burrow into you body and are not looking for blood…they instead “drink” your liquefied tissue through a “straw” that they ingeniously insert in your body…sound like fun???…it wasn’t…the welts intensely itched for days…(aah, what was God thinking???)…

So blackberries, good…chiggers, bad…read about them before you go…and take a long soapy shower or bath when you get back…using a wash cloth…(maybe a scouring pad) to scrub down all areas of the body…you will thank me for this sketchy information to help you read-up before you go…I learned my lesson…I didn’t take pictures but I attach one…looks bad huh???…well, I didn’t have this many…but they look like they itch…a lot!!!…

But all this doesn’t take away from blackberry pie and cobbler…and don’t let it scare you away from enjoying this great treat…heavens, you can buy them at the store!!!…so enjoy…

This looks a lot better than the “post chigger” picture…so I guess I would want you to remember this…than…that…

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Responses

  1. Oh boy hope you didn’t get that many chigger bites enjoy your berries. Happy Easter!

  2. Hi Jim,
    When I was a little girl, I’d go to my grandparents’ house every weekend. Whenenver I wanted to play in the back yard, my grandpa would take me to the basement. I’d sit on the basement steps and he’d get a can of some kind of powder off the shelf and “powder me up” before I went outside. I don’t know what it was but it worked and I wouldn’t get bit by the chiggers. This post brought back a lot of memories of playing at my grandparents’ house. Good memories.
    Thanks!
    Julie

    • Julie…thanks for the reply…Oh those Grandparents and their wisdom…and the memories…they are the best…hope spring is knocking on your door in Ohio…and get rid all that rain and storms…we certainly have had our fill across the South…Jim E


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