WHEN our family upped-stumps from the city and dragged our bat and ball (and trailer loads of crap) to a small country town in Central Victoria, we knew the move would have its perks. We were looking forward to fresh air, dark night skies, living closer to the earth and a non-existant rush hour. And all those things have been delivered in spades. Thank you Universe... (the mere thought of moving above-mentioned-crap back to the city again makes me involuntarily twitch.)
One perk we weren't expecting is the bounty of free food that grows, well EVERYWHERE! Most notably, blackberries. Yes the blackberry bush is a freakin' nightmare noxious weed, but damn it delivers the deliciousness.
Blackberries are currently fruiting in our neck of the woods. The local berries are plump and sweet and already taste like jam. In fact, our family is sort-of permanently stained purple this time of year. Currently, blackberries are selling for around $50 a kilo at the supermarkets... (Yeeouch!) - OR THEY ARE FREE if you take a bucket and pick your own.
Today I had a small window of time (sans kids and deadlines) so off I went picking.
Blackberry picking is not without its dangers... The berries I raid are beyond knee-deep grass, bracken and other tangled undergrowth, no doubt home to a few slithery friends. Aside from a potentially lethal snake bite, today the region was in the path of significant thunderstorms throwing bolts, large hail and drenching, party-pooping rain.
I looked on the BoM app (Australian Bureau of Meteorology to those less weather-nerdy than myself) - to see how much time I had before the fury was unleashed - and I found myself somewhat surrounded by storms.
An adrenalin-fueled pick ensued.
Distant thunder rolled louder, great swathes of grey linked sky to earth and I could smell the wet ground 15 minutes before the rain reached me. I thought it best to abandon my pick when lightning began illuminating the berries.
I hightailed it out of there... with hopefully enough berries in my bucket to make enough jam for some home baked scones. (I swear I used to be so rock n' roll.)
Are you a blackberry picker? What do you make with them? (or do you just stuff them in your face like us?) Take care out there in this crazy weather... down here in Central Victoria I really feel like Summer is saying goodbye.
Damn... I'll miss Summer and her wild roadside gifts. Luckily I'll have enough summer berry jam to take us through 'til next year.
Hope the sun is shining on you today.
- Kathy x