Let me start by saying, “I don’t have a Bucket List.” If you don’t know what a Bucket List is, let me explain. It’s from a recent movie in which two dying men make a list of all the things they want to do before they kick the bucket. Then they try to do all the things on their list. Making your own Bucket List became very popular after the movie but I never really got into it. I am not really a superstitious person but, I just wondered, if I had a list and I checked every item off and God, or whatever you believe in, needed to call someone home he might just look first at those with completed Bucket Lists. It’s kind of like saying, “I’m done. I’ve done it all. There’s nothing left for me here on Earth.” Since some days I feel as if I am circling the drain already, I decided not to make a Bucket List. Not wanting to seem selfish, I would have probably have had a really short list making completing it even more do-able. It is just safer this way.
That being said, if I had a Bucket List this would be on it: Picking wild blackberries on my own property and getting enough to make a pie! It’s not cliff diving in Mexico or spelunking in Namibia, but it’s something I have always wanted to do.
The closest I got was a boat trip with my family down the Sacramento River. Early one morning I took the boat out by myself and steered it close to the river bank. The blackberry vines grew out and over the water and I could stand in the boat and pick the berries over my head. I went back to camp with enough berries to make a pie! I am always amazed at the vitriol land owners have for blackberry vines. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “These things have berries on them people and you can make pie!”
This afternoon I donned a long sleeved sweatshirt and heavy jeans tucked into boots and headed for the blackberry brambles on our property. Jack has stolen all the berries up high and Diana, the goats, and the emus have cleared out the low ones. The ones in the middle were all mine! I started picking and tasting and remembered from that day on the river so many years ago, that the only ones you want are the ones that come off when you apply just a little pressure. If you have to pull very hard to get the berry it isn’t ripe and will be too tart. I just left those alone thinking, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back for you.”
After scouring the vines as far as I dared go, I had half a bucket full, enough for a pie. I headed for home. It was hot and I was sweaty. My feet were swelling in the knee-high boots, threatening to cut off the circulation to my lower extremities. The goats were eating more than I was picking and the emus were pulling my hot pink nail tips off, one at a time. I kept hearing rattlesnakes in the brambles, or so I thought. I did actually find a rattlesnake skin and brought it back to the house to prove to Michael that they are out there! After taking off the suit of armor I was wearing and laying down on the bed hooked up to my oxygen, I finally believed I might actually survive the berry picking incident. I made a note to myself that picking berries is best done in the morning, while it is still cool, the animals are secured in their locked enclosures, and the rattlesnakes are still hibernating.
It was worth it all though. Here’s my prize.
A couple of hours, and a sink full of dirty dishes later, I have this to show for my berry picking. All I need to do now is bake it!
Here, I lift my golden brown blackberry pie to the brambles from whence they came. After a dinner of handmade pork tamales, this pie is going to taste really good topped with homemade vanilla ice cream. You can find the pie recipe in the Grub section.
Just to be on the safe side, if you have a Bucket List, please add to it cliff diving in Mexico and spelunking in Namibia so I won’t worry about you. What the heck, add berry picking with goats and emus too! You can never be too safe.