Yesterday, as hot as it was, I went out and picked the black berries. In this heat they don’t hold long and if I want black berry jam and a pie for Jimmy, it needs to be done.
The heat was shimmering in the air and I could smell the chlorine of my little blow up pool that was my incentive to finish the job. I could almost feel the cool water close over me as I picked.
Of course Crow and at least two deer accompanied me, along with Sophie, my lab. My bucket didn’t fill very fast as it was “Pick two for the bucket, one for the crow, two for the deer and don’t forget Sophie”. Luckily the heat was a bit much for them in the sun and all but Crow left me. He moved up into the mulberry tree and contented himself with dropping mulberries into the pool below. (Now you know why I have a slight lavender cast to my skin).
I have a milk crate, one of the old sturdy ones) out there to reach the berries on top of the little arbor, but I still fall a few inches short, so there are plenty of prime berries for the other birds to eat. My young robin, came and did exactly that. After about an hour, I moved over to the other side of the fence.
Levi doesn’t mow as much as we do and the grass along that side fence and berries is long and tangled. There is a deep pink rosebush that rambles along and through the fence and I had to tread carefully to avoid it wrapping around my ankles. (A 1oo year old rose has very long thorns)
My flip flops kept getting caught in the long grass, so I left them behind as I kept picking. Being in the brush like that, not all the berries make it to the bucket tied around your waist. Every so often, you hear the soft plop as one hits the ground, but who wants to search through the weeds for one berry.
Sometime, I became aware of something occasionally tickling my feet and ankles. I has seen a little deer mouse scurry through the fence when I began and I knew that there was a grass snake that lived in that comer, so I really didn’t think much of it. Then something definitely sniffed my ankle.
I looked down and there was a tiny brown bunny at my feet. Every time I would drop a berry, he would sneak in to eat it. I laughed out loud and it scurried away.
It was too hot to continue and my bucket was heavy around my waist and the call of the pool was irresistible. I left a handful of berries on the ground where the bunny could reach them and climbed back through the brambles and richly scented roses.
I fell into the pool and let the cool water envelope me. I lay on my raft with the current from the filter swirl me around. I watched clouds, then trees, clouds then trees, pass through my vision.
Crow came down to join me and I was nearly asleep when he started dipping his beak into the pool and spitting water on my head. I figured this meant he was ready to go inside and I knew everyone’s feeding time was coming up. (Including my husbands)
As I passed back through the arbor, I noticed the pile of berries was gone. Happy bunny. Happy me.