26 Jun

Mom and I decided to see if the raspberries were ripe today.  We went to our usual picking place, the bike trail.  It used to be a railroad right of way that was cow pasture.  That’s when we first started picking there.  Then they made it into a bike trail and opened it to the public.  We still pick there.  This year, we didn’t find much.  There were a few nice ones, but mostly we found mosquitoes.

With all the rain we’ve had, there were also a lot of weeds on the side of the trail that is supposed to be dirt for horseback riding.  It was a bit swampy.  I made Mom go across first.  Again, we found some, but most of the branches didn’t look like they were even making raspberries this year.  It makes me wonder if they mowed the side of the ditches to try and control the weeds, which means there wouldn’t be many second year branches to produce berries.

The water was only ankle deep.  I joined her, and after climbing to the top of the steep sides and working really hard, I was sure our bucket would be full.  Well, it mostly covered the bottom of the bucket.  Walking back to the beginning of the trail was a lot longer than the walk in.  I think it was the water squishing from our shoes and socks that made it so much longer.

We decided to give up in the bike trail and try my new pasture.  We took the Ranger back by the orchard.  Wow, it’s wet.  We were really sliding through the water.  When we started walking, I was still squishing in my shoes (Mom got dry ones).  I think I sweated all my bug spray off, so I had to reapply that.

Why is it the raspberries, gooseberries, and rose bushes always seems to grow together?  The raspberries weren’t too mean, but those rose bushes really attack.  I will not lie, there was some loss of blood.  We did find a lot of raspberry bushes too, but the berries were in various stages of ripeness.

We went along the south fence.  Then we followed a drainage ditch.  Then we took the Ranger around to the other side of the ditch and checked that fence row and along the ditch over there.  Right now, the grass is really tall with ripe seed heads.  When we drive through them, it sends the seeds flying into the Ranger.  I think I carried enough seed home in my shoes, socks and bra to seed a small suburban yard.

Along with finding raspberries, we also heard a lot of different birds.  One sounded like a baby crying, and I have no idea what kind it was.  There were the usual red-winged blackbirds and a wren or two.  We have a lot of black-eyed-Susan’s growing out there, along with goldenrod.  We also saw a yellow dragonfly.  I hadn’t seen one this color before.

It will probably be better picking in another day or so.  There were tons that were just starting to turn black.  At least now we know exactly where to go for the best picking (not the bike trail), and we can avoid a lot of the up and down the hills walking.  It wasn’t a bust today.  We did pick a lot and mostly filled the bucket.  We decided that would be enough for today, so home we went!

I got the fun task of cleaning them.  This was about the worst batch of raspberries to clean ever.  It’s not the usual problem.  I found only one or two bugs in the whole bucket, although I did almost drown a spider (don’t worry, full recovery and release).  It wasn’t that they are wild raspberries, so they are smaller.  Nope.  Remember all the little grass seeds that were flying into the Ranger.  They also filled the bucket.  They were very, very difficult to remove.  But, finally, I did manage to get them cleaned.

I admit, raspberries are my favorite.  I’m thinking raspberry jam, raspberry applesauce, and raspberry yogurt.  I definitely want to go back and pick more in another day or two.  I will do one thing differently, though.  I will certainly take a lid for my bucket.  Then they will be some of the easiest raspberries to clean, at least until my nice domesticated raspberries are ready.


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