The landscaper and his crew are here to help us subdue our front yard. Trees are being uprooted and rocks are being dug up and placed strategically. Of course, some rocks just aren't going to budge without dynamite and those rocks will stay just where they are.
We do not plan nor even want a traditional looking yard. That's not at all why we moved into the woods. But we'd like to make what we have as beautiful as possible, make its natural beauty easier to appreciate, make it less of the complete wilderness that it is now.
Unfortunately, a large clump of wild raspberries (and even some blackberries) that are growing up to the front and side of our house really must be torn out. They are growing in front of a large rock formation that is far too beautiful to remain covered, even with wild berries. It seems impossible that they must go, but it's true. Luckily, we have more wild raspberries lining the woods in our backyard, too. Otherwise, it would be much harder for me to persuade myself to part with thriving berry bushes.
After the expert assured us they were definitely edible and certainly safe, we asked him to ask all the gardeners to hold off on tearing them out until we had harvested berries at least once. So they worked on the other side of the house, while we gathered some pails from inside, the kind we use to store pencils and the like, and we used those to collect.
It is overcast today and it rained cool drops on us as we picked. There were thorns everywhere and we all suffered pokes, but there was no bleeding, thankfully. The bigger girls worked together to navigate the thorns, but I helped Del. I would walk into the bushes a little ways, trample the branches in front under my heavier feet and thicker shoes, put the handle of the bucket in my mouth, then turn and pick up Adele, setting her in front of my legs to pick with me. We moved like this farther and farther into the bushes and then reversed the process to get out of the bushes.
We all snacked as we went. Even the unripe berries were not too tart to be delicious. And it was especially nice to eat them as came off the bush, cool, damp, having been just freshly washed by the rain.
And we shared the berries with the men working in our yard. They did not speak English, but I held up my bucket, and motioned them over, and it did not take much to understand my intent or make myself persuasive once they got a look at the bright red inside my pail.
They put down their tools, pulled off their gloves, and I gave them honest, heaping handfuls. (I noticed as I poured how much bigger mens' hands are than children or women!)
But it felt good and right to share the berries with the men in the midst of their work when they would be most welcome.
May God make those berry bushes we have left ten times as fruitful!