Monday, June 7, 2010

Slice of Life Prompt was 'Berries'

Not a hard subject for my family.

When my mom was growing up, picking berries was part of survival. Mom loved berries even though her experiences with picking them was not always the most pleasant. She tells of going to pick berries when we lived in Iowa. The family we were visiting with, we lived in town, had a large farm. The Owner was Charlie Marsh. He was a person who loved on people, much like the Hero and I have done with some of our younger friends. Maybe that is where I learned it. I will have to write a blog about Charlie sometime. I digress.

Back to berries. This particular day, was beautiful and my mom was merrily walking along the patch of black berries and filling her basket. She decided it should be about full as it was heavy, so she stopped to look. Wow, was she surprised to see a big black snake half in her basket and half out. Needless to say, the berries and basket were left behind as she ran to get my dad to get the snake.

Of course, it was gone when she got back, but I can just imagine her wide eyed, wide mouthed expression when she saw the snake. I giggle just thinking about it. I imagine the snake was surprised to have his smooth ride interrupted by being rudely slung to the ground. Apparently, he liked berried. Have you heard of that before?

When she moved to Texas, the land was covered with dewberries. She and my dad would go out with my children to gather some for eating. They told my children when they saw spit on the berry vines it was made by snakes. The kids always ran from any area with spit near them - spit made by the spittal bug.


  1. Eeeek! Snakes! The worst we had to deal with when berry-picking (Scottish raspberries) were the "berry bugs" which nipped liked midges and the bites came up in big red itchy lumps. If snakes had been a possibility, I suspect we wouldn't have been berry-picking in the first place as Mum would have put a stop to it :-)

  2. What a cute post! It reminds me that I will need to be preparing to pick wild elderberries soon. And as for black snakes...the weirdest thing...we had THREE of them come into our screened lanai last weekend all at the same time! We cannot fathom why three would find their way in when our grandchildren had just been out there an hour earlier and none were there then! (Black snakes are good snakes, they kill poisonous snakes).

  3. I suppose, but a snake is still a snake! I too recall going berry picking each summer down on the farm in southern Pennsylvania. Life on the farm was some thing of an adventure that I as a youth looked forward too. In fact my brother and sister has also expressed how much they enjoyed the farm as well, I remember as we readied to pick berries, putting on our long pants and long sleeved shirts as to not get torn up by the briars on the hillside. And boots or hightops to keep from getting bit by snakes or insects or critters. Each grabing a container to fill so Mam (MY GRAMMA) could make her great jams n jellies that we all loved. Or was there more to it than that? Perhaps it was the warm feeling that radiated from our Geamma? And the just being together with our Mam that we loved? We climed the rocky and very slopped hill side in search of our treasures. Mam knew just where to go she was so smart! I being the youngest oft times kinda tagged along being tolerated, as I am sure I didn't contribute much to the containers we were trying to fill! All this was done early in the morning so we could hurry bsck home, wash and pick over the berries getting them ready for the jam or jelly, we also had to wash and sterilize the jars. No dish washers back then! We were it! But as much as it was work , we ebjoyed doing it together. What was it that made that experience something we all looked forward too? It was the great love and respect we had for our granparents. They were awesome!!

  4. YIKES! That would have really scared me to find a snake in my berry basket! I love the picture of black berries... makes me hungry LOL :-)

  5. Those snakes are so sneaky... I took some pictures of headstones in a cemetery, and imagine my surprise when I got home and found one pic with not only the stone, but my foot, and a snake all in the same picture!

    Love the picture of the jar with berries.. reminds me of grandma doing some canning. Thanks for a great post!

  6. I remember very vividly a blackberry-picking experience w/my dad in the woods of SW La. when there was a rustle, I jumped sideways w/o even thinking, and when I looked back, a large (black, BTW) water moccasin was coiled on the path where I had just been standing. I nervously called Dad, who came over and rescued me.
    I don't think I ever picked berries in the woods again! But I sure am craving blackberry cobbler now from So. Calif.! :)

  7. NO WAY!
    It's snake spit! I swear! Seeing the stuff will ALWAYS give me the willies!
    In all fairness snake spit or no... those wads ushually showed up on a bush wear a snake was likely to be hiding so who knows how many times that saved us?
    Is that a picture of you or Grandma? I never thought you looked much like her but in that picture I would swear it's you.

  8. I love to pick berries-snakes or no snakes doesn't matter to me. Granny always took a hoe with her to the berry patch-and that took care of the snakes in her way : ) Great Post!