Late June and early July are one of my favorite times because its blackberry picking time. We have a couple of wild patches in the pasture that are overgrown and out of control, but give some great fruit.
I have had some interesting experiences in picking years past. My first year here, before Trace and I were married I decided to walk to the back bush (probably 1/3 mi from the house). We had some overly friendly cows and a donkey at the time and they thought my picking bag was a treat for them, I do not think they would have hurt me, but I was so scared and remember calling Trace in Stillwater to tell him that I was about to get trampled by our herd of three...
The next few years were uneventful, there is always an open invitation to pick and my parents love to come. This year, the berries are amazing - huge, sweet, and plentiful. Last Saturday I decided to get up early before Nathan was up and Trace headed in to work. I got all ready to go, load up on the four wheeler and head to the closest bush. I am getting a bunch of berries, encountering minimal thorns, when all of a sudden I am literally attacked by some type of stinging insect. I would not quite classify it as a swarm, but there were a bunch of them, and I got stung at least three to four times. Thankfully, I did not drop my berries, but I quickly loaded up and headed back to the house with my stinging hand and arm.
Trace was sympathetic, but laughed at my description of the attack...I had majorly swollen
index, middle finger, and hand for the next two days, but obviously survived.
Monday, I decided to face my fears and head back out for more. I was afraid to go to the same bush, so I headed out farther and had a successful, injury free time of picking. Injury free time did not last long, that night, my mom and I went back out to the first bush. I was really scared to go back to the place, but had some back-up. I could not remember where exactly I encountered the insects, so we started picking. I was constantly scanning for signs of the "army". Thankfully, I was on my toes and, sure enough, they came for me. I ran as fast as I have in quite a while - and promptly fell, bruising my knees in the process. A 7-month pregnant lady has no business running in an uneven pasture. But I escaped further stings. Apparently there is a nest of yellow-jackets in the bush. This year will definitely be memorable both in terms of what happened while picking and for the glorious berries!