After my lovely surprise this morning, I was later than usual going up the allotment – and arrived just as the sun came out!
It is really boggy up there – we have had two month’s worth of rain in the past two weeks (so the weather forecasters tell us) and it feels like much more! But for every negative there is a positive – and the positive in this case was that it was easy to pull up the weeds – well some of them in this case.
I decided to tackle one area today – and that was this one, where I tried to rescue the parsnips from the rabbits.
As you may remember, they ate all the first sowing, the second sowing failed and the third is surviving – and were revealed after I removed all the weeds.
It took me about two hours today to do this – with a few distractions of course!
I dug it all over with a small ladies fork which I have to use to prevent me from lifting too much, so it takes a while.
At the end of 2003, I planted a tiny piece of cultivated blackberry root, and I thought that it had died.
A number of weeks ago I found it was growing, and I have been carefully watching it ever since.
There were small berries forming, but with the drought they didn’t seem to develop.
Then yesterday when I was putting the girls away I noticed some berries, so today I took a plastic container to collect them (not knowing how many were ripe).
And look what I picked – 1lb 12oz.
But it came at a price. This bramble has vicious thorns and I got really stabbed at one point and the thorn got stuck in my finger, so deeply that I had to bite it out. (It was a really big thorn from a branch which didn’t even have any berries on it!
On the left the cultivated berry - on the right a wild berry.
And can anyone tell my why, the biggest, juiciest, blackberry is always just out of reach amongst stinging nettles. And when you reach to get it, you lose balance, the blackberry falls, and you get stung like crazy!
Another injustice is that the blackberry that I planted, for some reason, has grown towards the south, so the neighbouring plot has the most berries.
As they haven’t been up there for weeks, and unlikely to be up there for more – and especially as we are forecast the most foulest of weather until at least Monday, I was very naughty and reached over and picked some from there.
I then did an assault course to get through – or rather under, the elder trees which are my hedge, with a hawthorn tree too, to get to the field. I was glad of the two pairs of trousers I wore I can tell you, as the stinging nettles were waist high the other side!
This is the first pick - next time I will be better prepared!
Am I being eccentric about picking these blackberries I ask myself? Yes probably – but who cares. The berries will taste all the sweeter for the effort I put into getting them.
Now all I need are some apples!