Yummy blackberries make the effort and challenges all worthwhile!

Yummy blackberries make the effort and challenges all worthwhile!

Until recently, what used to be a drivable path down to the lower part of our property is now blocked by a wall of blackberry bushes. It reminds me of the wall in Game of Thrones. Only this wall is green and leafy and not made out of ice. Also we aren’t required to wear black and swear some crazy oath.

The Great Wall of Blackberry Bushes

The Great Wall of Blackberry Bushes


I hate to do anything with these bushes right now since they have produced enough berries to allow us to make jam, some sort of alcohol beverage (between a wine and brandy) and even get ones that have been sun dry too.

Living in the Sierras means that we get to forage for food which is an interest I have and hope to continue to develop. Living in the Sierras also means I’m not the only one foraging for food. Walking down to our go to patch there is a small pile of scat. It’s clearly a bear but it’s a small pile so my assumption is it’s a small bear. Plus it’s kind of dried up so most likely the bear has moved on. No biggie but being a city girl and going down there on my own, the advice I had gotten was to make noise so that if the bear is in the area it will run off. 

With my plastic pail and clippers in hand off I went. I used the pail as a drum while walking down the path. Once down in the berry patch it’s impossible to bang on the pail when you’re trying to fill it up with berries so what’s a girl to do? Singing sounded like a good idea but initially I couldn’t think of anything to sing. This seemed ridiculous given that music is a big part of our life. Eventually I started making up songs about a bear and then moved on to show tunes. 

The go to berry patch is near the end of it’s fruit production and I remembered where another patch might be. As I continued on I came across fresh pile of bear scat only this pile was much, much bigger. So the assumption is that this is a much, much bigger bear. 

This pile [of scat] was much, much bigger. So the assumption is that this is a much, much bigger bear.

How many bears could possibly be in the area? Aren’t they territorial so that we only have to deal with one bear instead of whole flock or whatever two or more of them are called? And it’s in the halfway zone which means I can either turn around and go back to the house or keep going to the other berry patch and up to the road. Hmmm, well I’m already here and I’ve got a repetoir of songs so forward ho it is! 

The next berry patch was a disappointment. It had been thoroughly picked over already. Most likely by the three, I mean two bears and other woodland creatures. So I made an agreement with nature, specifically the bears, that is they can have this berry patch and I’ll take the one closer to our home. I suspect that because there’s no signed contract plus bears can’t read and we didn’t actually have a direct conversation about this that they probably won’t honor the agreement.

The suspicion of two bears was backed up later my our neighbor at the next property over. They saw the black bear and their boys also saw a brown bear (which also happens to be a black bear because there are no grizzlies in California and black bears can also be brown, cinnamon, blond, blue-gray or white).

Even with this knowledge about more than one bear in the area it didn’t stop me from going berry picking the next day because in addition to my pail and clippers I now have a playlist of songs that I can sing. Requests anyone?

Cheryl Berg1 Comment