Yesterday was our first blackberry day in two years. We took a year off from picking last year because they’d been over-picked in 2009 and later that year we also had a cold summer.
This time we invited less people (and some were babies) and had a massive day of picking, hacking the berries and lolling about in the sun. My day started when I realised the gate I’d built to the berries was entirely covered in holly, fennel and blackberries. I spent a good 20 minutes hacking with the shears and the rake before I could get the gate open – to be met by a wall of blackberry.
In preparation, Tom and I made salads, brought the outside table round and made our clothesline into a giant umbrella using my stash of blankets. In and ideal world I’d have lots of retro beach umbrellas stacked end to end but the blankets on the clothesline worked just as well and gave great shade.
The day pretty much consisted of picking in the hot sun before eating and lying about on the blankets.
Our afternoon’s entertainment was watching my friend Patricia and her family catch their two hens. They’d brought them along because they were dropped them off in Carterton and didn’t want to leave them in the car. Hens like weeds so loved our house!
The tradition on blackberry day is blackberry pie. My ritual is to pick enough berries for the pie then to come inside and make it. This year was deemed the best pie ever – a result I put down to blind baking the pastry and then sieving the liquid out of the blackberries and apples before I put them into the pie.
Tom and I ate some more berries this afternoon for a snack and now I’m making the rest into jam for the year.