Sunday, August 12, 2018

Tales from a Wine Country Homestead: More Blackberries

August 12, 2018
Santa Rosa, CA

New Millennium Homesteaders 
Not one to be deterred by such a trifling thing as poison oak, Scott was itching (no pun intended) to get back at it and pick more blackberries on the property while they are in season.  On our last visit a couple of weeks ago, Scott had estimated that a significant quantity of berries would be ripe for the picking right about now and he wasn't wrong.  This time, we brought our friend Debbie with us to join in the fun.
It has been a very warm weekend in the Russian River Valley where we live, with high temperatures in the low 90s, so we planned to go early and arrived at the property before 10:30.  Upon our arrival, it was warm and sunny, quite pleasant, though the day was promising toasty temperatures again that afternoon.

After parking on the gravel road that fronts our acreage, we  set out to walk the property.  After walking for a bit, we spotted some grapes, beautifully purple and ripe in appearance, growing randomly in the middle of our land! 

Look, grapes!! And all of those pretty, red leaves you see? Yep, that's poison oak. 
Sadly, like many of the blackberries on the property, they were guarded by strands of poison oak, twining amongst the grape vines.  Luckily for  us, at this time of year, poison oak leaves turn a lovely deep red color, making them much more highly visible and apparent how much of our property is covered with it.  There is much talk these days amongst the landowners of securing the necessary "goat quote," as goats are known devourers of both blackberry brambles and poison oak.  As luck would have it, they are also available for rent in our area by the hundred-pack.  

Walking the property.  The growth to the left of Scott and Debbie that looks like low bushes or large ground cover is new since our last visit.  It took us a while to figure out that they are actually grape vines!  LOL
Our friend Debbie, an artist, general nature enthusiast and handy gardener-type of gal, proved to be quite adept at picking blackberries and came away with a significant haul in her clear plastic produce bag after 30 minutes or so of picking.

Pickers, hard at work

Picking blackberries is messy work...but oh, so rewarding!
Scott also picked an impressive amount.  

Rockstar blackberry pickers...and believe me, there's plenty more where these came from!

Beautiful, bountiful blackberries
I managed to pick only a "healthy handful," spending most of my time alternating between taking photos and being deathly afraid of touching the poison oak that is ubiquitous amongst the brambles. Sigh...

Most of the blackberry brambles, I mean bushes, are located near the rear of our extensive property. On our way back to the car after blackberry picking, we slowly meandered through the wild, golden fields, admiring the grapes, picking up feathers that my have once belonged to owls, wild turkeys and/or hawks in Debbie's estimation, and examining the various small piles of scat, wondering which local residents they might have come from.  You know, the kinds of things one does on a Sunday morning stroll. Well, in Sonoma County, anyway.

My fave spot for ou future home :-)

Even if you know what made these holes, please don't tell me; I'm really not sure I want to know. LOL

More grapes!

Pickers and Grinners

Today's yield - not bad for a couple of city slickers (ok,ok, no thanks to me - ha)
Post-picking activity ;-)

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