Thursday, April 27, 2006

Guess I Don't Have To Resort To Crime

Just last post, I was grousing about neeeeeeding hardy blackberries. I'd found 2 varieties in a plant catalogue last year and ordered them, but so had every other person in the upper Midwest. I received a polite note from the company explaining that they were growing them as fast as they could, but there's only so much one can do with a being that requires sun, fertilizer, water, and time. They assured me that they had people roaming the rows of baby hardy blackberries cajoling them and playing salsa music in an effort to hurry the process, but I'd just have to be patient. Maybe I'd get them in the fall (but not bloody likely, lady, given even the birds and probably the deer were wanting some of this action). They hoped by spring '06 I'd get my cut, but no promises. I was put 'on the waiting list'. Becoming desperate a few days ago, I mulled over pilfering someone else's crop, the problem being I had no idea who that might be. I haven't the vaguest idea how to hack into the company's system and don't know anyone who'd put me in touch with a nice geek who'd do it in exchange for a berry pie and a jar of jam in the future.

As I got out of the car, Monday, the very day of posting that little whine, I noticed a small package, sitting on the trash can in the garage, by the kitchen door. Just sitting. Abandoned. Swinging its legs, looking a bit thirsty.

I tucked it under my arm, trotted inside to deal with dog, cat, kids, and general mayhem, and plopped it on the counter with the rest of the mess.

Well, of course, you know what was inside. And there they sit, now, by the sink, getting lots of drinkies and talkies. My own little trio of 'Jim' and 'Jan'. They are supposed to fruit this year, by gum, bear from June until frost (about mid October, here 'bouts), and send you into positive raptures with their sweet, sweet berry flavor. We'll see. I'm just excited. It is also easing my tortured little mind a bit knowing that if these turn out to be as invasive as the blackberries from the Pacific Northwest, well, I'm not the only one who released them into the wild. And I'd rather fight something that I can turn into pie than something that just spreads seeds with the wind and jabs you in the foot, arm, and eye. (Hear that, thistles?)

I'll leave you with a few more pictures:

Here we have the Easter Weekend bonfire, because what better to do on a gorgeous spring day than to burn shit in a fire? We roasted brats and marshmallows later and ate on the deck, huddled in sweatshirts. But, no bugs!

Mad-kitty sits on her favorite perch, draped between the back of the chair and your (in this case Charles's) shoulders. She is not in my good graces today as she managed to terrorize my hibiscus by knocking the whole pot and plant off the table and onto the couch. The pot, I might add that out weighed her by about 5 fold and was far from the edge of the table. The plant is alive but shaken, literally. The loft is a freakin' disaster. The bad kitty is not sorry. Obviously the 'keys' incident was just the first episode in what may be a long string of retaliatory strikes.

Finally, here are some shots from the deck out the back taken 2 weeks ago. Now, It's all green leaves:

Pictures for you
To the West.

Pictures for you Pictures for you To the North.

Now I'm off to vacuum.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's to hoping you get nice fat and juicy blueberries! I love blueberries. my aunt used to have bushes on her property. when she sold the property, the new owner ripped out one of the berry bushes because "You only need one blueberry bush."

they are idiots.

have a loverly day!

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... bad. you got blackberries. duh, amy, read. I do like blackberries as well.

is it Friday yet?

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

Ohhh, those naughty kitties! Maggie keeps trying to investigate the garbage can and knocking it over. Last night, she got squirted (diluted vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle) four times and I thought, why don't we just give her a damn BATH if she's going to be so naughty.

Love the pictures! I can't wait to plant some hardy blackberries (what company did you use?) and also maybe try some raspberries. I would die for fresh raspberries in the summer. Also: one of my favorite memories of all time was blackberry picking in the summer in Maine.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting!!! I have never heard of blackberries freezing over the winter. If you get busted for importing non-native berries, you all can go on the lam here at our pad.
Recommend pinot grapes, as Kennewick, etse the ones used in Oregon Pinot Noir wines
Suggest wild animal urine for new sprouts to thwart rabbits & deer. Madison outdoor stores should have some. I remember your grandfather collecting it and applying it to the bushes to discourage dogs and cats. Silly old GDad.

The Ole RFer

1:09 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Amy- I've got about 6 assorted blueberries that should start bearing in a year or two. The new owner should be bludgeoned for such idiocy.

Ariella- Love the bath-as-punishment idea. Currently, Mad is entranced with the toilets. Bleh. If you want, you can come dig up many of the raspberry canes that are growing wild along one side of our place. The birds planted them and there's easily a hundred this year. They bear on 2nd year canes, so these should bear this year. The blackberries came from Stark Bros. (

Dad- Sadly, pretty much everything freezes at -20 degrees F. So far, I've not found any other grapes for that cold. Planning on a trip to a local large nursery to see what they have. There's a ton of little wild grapes growing but I'm not big on eating something I've not planted myself. (I remember another grandfather using 'his own' to fend off the yard.)

1:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa P said...

How come I can't get the pictures?

2:03 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I doubt your blackberries are the invasive Himalayan blackberries we have here. I have to admit I am not a huge fan of either blackberries or raspberries, so I really, really hate those lethal Himalayan things. There are some in the garden that I hack back every year to no avail.

I do love blueberries very, berry much though!

Hey, we got a glimpse of the fashion god in his white athletic socks, whooo hooo!

4:41 PM  
Blogger Cagey said...

I love blackberries! In a vain effort to keep myself away from chocolate, I have been buying blackberries at the ridiculous prices they are at these days.

I love the views you posted. Now that I am older and have no need for rollerskating on sidewalks, I wish I lived in the country. sigh. The wastefulness of youth.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous christie said...

Typical damn cat (and woohoo, that's a purty leg). It's like they lay around all day plotting what they can do to drive us nuts. My 2 are indoor/outdoor and the last few nights have been unceremoniously evicted within an hour of me going to bed due to obnoxiously catty behavior. We are in the midst of strawberry heaven right now, and oh how I love thee.... My child, alas, does not seem to share my berry obsession.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Lisa- (Hi, Honey!) Blast. No clue. Anyone else having a problem? Is it all of the pictures or just some? Can you access flickr? It's on the sidebar. All my photos are stored there.

Rozanne- Heh. Here's hoping. You never know until you plant and then, it's too late. Our raspberries are certainly invasive vs exuberant, but that's raspberries. (The fashion god has come a long way. The sock has no hole.)

Cagey- Of course, the reason for all the open space is that there's nothing but rock under an inch of topsoil. It is pretty, though. (Shocking, the prices of berries in the stores, isn't it?)

Christie- Well, "More for me," is what I respond when a child doesn't share my enthusiasm for some delicacy. I'm assuming your berries are lovely local ones? We have the California ones in the stores now. Some are quite good, some are completely (and I mean completely) devoid of all taste of strawberry. Truly a remarkable feat.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I get nostalgic for the upper midwest when I see pics of your yard, Diana. There is even something distinctive about the quality of the light.

Hurrah for blackberries! It's so funny that you have wild raspberries and are planting blackberries; while we have wild blackberries and have planted raspberries. Which are doing quite well, BTW. :-)

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

I checked out the Stark Bros. webpage with Erik last night and I was firmly entranced with the various varieties of veggies (oh, alliteration...)

Ooooh, I may take you up on the offer for raspberries. I love them more than any other berry! I'm so glad it's Friday right now.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

When I was a kid, we would spend every summer "up north" at the farm my grandparents owned, but no longer lived in. Right behind the house was this giant thicket of raspberries, and oh! it was thick. The scratches I suffered! But we literally got bushels of raspberries off the bushes. Heaven, I tell you, heaven.

Raspberries are one of the few fruits and veggies that Pockets eats willingly

11:49 AM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Nice pictures of the views around your place. Also, nice to see kitty has a perch with Charles.

I hope your berries flourish, but not too much, its a balance thing.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

Didn't I warn you that those furry ones would be out to get even with you for foiling their plan to drive you all crazy looking for those keys they hid?? I'm sure this was just a little taste of what they are capable of. Better watch your back! Hee hee hee

WOW! Now, THAT'S a bonfire!! very cool! How much land do you have? Looks like you could have your own blackberry plantation (if there is such a thing!)!

2:36 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Raspberries to the raspberries - yuck. They are disgusting. I'll have to post a recent conversation I had with Keem in honor of the berries.

I just wrote on the last post about trying not to laugh out loud in front of the customers and then I read this post and lost it, especially here - "They assured me that they had people roaming the rows of baby hardy blackberries cajoling them and playing salsa music in an effort to hurry the process, but I'd just have to be patient." And here - "I noticed a small package, sitting on the trash can in the garage, by the kitchen door. Just sitting. Abandoned. Swinging its legs, looking a bit thirsty."

Now the customers think I am nuts. Dang you for being so funny, Diana! Dang you!

3:04 PM  
Blogger Udge said...

Salsa music? Well, there's your problem right there. Blackberries like New Country. You'd think that a reputable gardener would know that!

Bad cat. Baaaaaaaad cat. (Cat ignores him.)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Jamie- Something about your comment makes me want to hum 'Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes...' I did the same thing in Portland, ripping out the invasive blackberries, muttering under my breath and planting the raspberries along side the tomato beds. Now I fear I may be cursing the invading raspberries at some point.

Ariella- Any time, you just say the word and a starter patch are yours. They do have some good stuff. We got several different blueberry bushes last year. We'll see how they turn out in a few years...

Teri- Ah. So our eldest are picky about their fruits and veggies? Sigh. Colin is slooooowly getting better with what he'll willingly eat. Your grandparent's place does sound amazing. Scratches are a small price to pay.

Stace- Yes. Balance. Zen. I'll have to go meditate among them and see if it is of any influence.

Colleen- Yes. Sadly, you did predict such behavior. *sigh*
We have about 8 acres of lovely Wisconsin pasture and a bit of woods around the edge, like Bozo The Clown's hair. Except it's green, not red.

Dana, Dana, Dana- My poor misguided Dana. Berries are the end-all be-all. Except gooseberries. They are not my cup of tea. I apologise deeply for any indescretion I may have caused you in front of your customers. Next time, you might pretend you have a tic disorder, like Tourette's. (Now I'll be blamed for making fun of someone with a disability. I'll apologise in advance.)

Udge!- Good bloody point. Now I'm a bit concerned as to the possible flavor of the berries under such musical influence. Will the cilantro or garlic or jalipeno come through the berry flavor? Will it help if I go play New Country to try to get the salsa influence out of their little heads? (Yes. Bad kitty's ignoring you. With gusto.)

9:37 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh all rigth, Dana stole the quotes that made me spray JIP with coke. Cats do not like to be sprayed with coke. She is licking herself furiously, trying to make it all go away.

I LOVE all berries. All. Almost never eat them bcs they're hard to find and mushy by the time they reach us. Oy vey is mir.

5:49 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh God, just saw your reply to Dana's comment, do you know, I used to know a bloke who'd get into fights wuite often bcs his familial (and undiagnosed) Tourette's caused him to regularly unwillingly slap and kick people, and our very manly Porties don't take kindy to such disrespect so they'd hit him back. Poor thing - but I found it hysterical in a way.

There, now they can threaten the both of us.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- How horrible! No decent berry supply?!? How is this so? Can you grow some in pots on your balcony? (Does your flat have something like that?) How about in the country? Surely farmers must grow such things? I'd think strawberries would be happy in Portugal. And blackberries. Blackberries are happy lots of places. Something must be done! Call NATO! STAT! Send aid at once!

9:36 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Yummy blackberries. I love all types of berriess, just like Johnny mentioned. I even enjoy a good gooseberry. I am just stunned when DM states she doesn't like raspberries. But then, she likes chocolate.

5:14 PM  

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