Grit Blogs > Country at Heart

Plum Orchards and Blackberry Patches

Country at HeartSince it's almost Summer, I start thinking about what we kids did when we weren't working. Our favorite past-time was walking the roads and roaming the woods.

Now, I really can't tell you what time of summer blackberries and plums got ripe, but I just remember that they were harvested during this season. 

Whenever pickin' time was ready, we'd get our buckets and jars and head up the road to some body's patch. When we went berry pickin', I had no idea whose land we were on, which was OK. It was all right as long as we didn't go into their "farmed" field and start picking corn and watermelons and stuff that they had planted for harvesting. Anything that grew wild was fair game, so bright and early, we'd be off and running. One thing I like about those good, 'ol days is that land owners were neighborly, kind and polite. We never saw a "No Trespassing" sign, so we felt free to romp wherever we wanted. After all, who could run such sweet, innocent kids off their property?

Usually, we'd meet up with some neighbor kids from up the road and we'd all roam the patches together. I guess wild things grew wherever they wanted and not where we wanted them to. Some parcels had blackberries patches – some didn't. The land we lived on didn't have berries nor plums. Our nearest neighbor's land had plum orchards but no blackberry patches. So we spent our summers roaming between blackberry patches and Mr. Brown's plum orchards. 

We kids picked plums and berries for fun and eatin'. The adults (in our gang) picked them to can for wintertime eatin'. And, even though we'd eat as much as we could hold, during the barren winter months, we still expected to raid Grandma's Smokehouse for whatever she had canned. Kids can be selfish, can't they? 

At any rate, plum and berry pickin' were two of our most enjoyable summer hobbies. The only drawback was that we were warned to look out for snakes. For some strange reason, those creepy reptiles loved to huddle under the berry vines. I guess everything likes a cool, shady place to rest. Anyway, snakes were my only fear, but it wasn't great enough to keep me away from the berry vines.

From what I remember, these fruits didn't grow every year - or did they? Maybe they did, but when they did produce, we'd be waitin' like vultures looking for a good "find." Perhaps that's not a very good description, but I think you get the picture.

It had been over thirty years since I'd seen blackberry vines, then a few years ago, I was riding up this dirt road and there on the side were berry vines. I had not seen blackberries since I was a child. Although their sight brought back fond memories, I guess I'd lived in the city too long. I wasn't brave enough to stick my hands in berry patches again. The memory from those bygone years was sweet enough.