Along the dusty gravel road from the cluster of rusty mailboxes to my parent’s home grew a tangle of thorny wild blackberry bushes.
Their vines clutched and hugged the barbed wire fencing my uncle wrapped around his property to keep his cattle in the rolling, green fields and out of the road. Some how or other though, this one feisty white cow managed to regularly escape her confines and plant her hefty flank in the middle of the dirt road, blocking our entrance/exit. She was a character. But back to the wild blackberries.
During the summer Mom would get her bucket and walk along blackberry row and pick sun-ripened berries. Sometimes she would send me out there. We wore gloves to protect our hands as we reached past the thorns to get to the plump berries. The first full harvest of blackberries would yield enough to make cobbler for our family of four.
Subsequent pickings afterward would yield a bit here and there, depending on how much rain we got during the season. Sometimes there would be enough for a second cobbler, sometimes only enough to enjoy fresh or in cereal. Sometimes Mom would reserve the berries to make jam. And on those rare occasions Mom would get the urge to make yeast dinner rolls from scratch. They were Dad’s favorite.
As the years passed those thorny bushes eventually got cut down as the barbed wire was removed. Uncle Bob had sold his cattle. The fields are open now.
Sometimes I miss the farm and being able to harvest berries I didn’t plant.
A couple weeks ago, someone in the office baked a blackberry cobbler and brought it to work to share. That’s what reminded me of those bushes. So last weekend I went to the grocery store and bought two small containers of blackberries. (How I miss those days of having free berries in abundance.)
I wanted to bake blackberry cobbler…in honor of summer memories on the farm and those lovely wild berries.
©2012 Sriprae P. McDonald