17 August 2016

Thorny edges

It's been so hot the past couple of days that my walks with the dog around the edges of the vineyard have been abbreviated and slow-paced. Callie doesn't really like the hot weather. Of course, given her thick fur coat, that's easy to understand.


Slow walks give me a chance to look closely at what's growing on the edges of the woods that form the boundary of the vineyard. There are a lot of blackberry brambles, for example. Some of the blackberry canes are thick and long, with impressive thorns as above.


The picture above might give you the idea that there are a lot of berries out there, but there aren't as many as I'd like. Only one or two summers over our 14 seasons here in Saint-Aignan have been hot enough to allow significant quantities of blackberries to ripen. Or maybe it's just that the birds and other animals eat them as soon as they do.


Sometimes I take a clipper with me on one of my walks and cut back the thorny brambles to make a path for Callie and me at the edge of the woods. Then we can enjoy walking through shaded areas. Once we're in the woods, there are very few brambles to worry about, and it's much cooler for both of us.

8 comments:

  1. Ken, a lot of the time the berries don't fill out because it is too dry... you then get them going straight to seed. I've found that the ones down by the river here are better, but still too little flesh on them.
    They are looking fuller this year, possibly because of the flood still having an effect on their growth.... despite the current run of very dry weather!! The "king" berries I've been picking have tasted nice....so am looking forward to Apple&Bramble Pie!!

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    1. Never thought about the dry weather preventing the blackberries from filling out. A friend in California, where it doesn't rain at all from June through November most years, has a lot of blackberries on her property, and they are beautiful and delicious. We always had blackberries in N.C., but there it's hot and humid with regular rain showers in summertime.

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  2. Wow, that's quite a photo there, of the thorns on that stem!

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    1. The thorns are pretty dangerous, really.

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  3. In North Carolina, in my childhood summer days, my cousin and I would be handed buckets by our grandmother and sent out to pick black berries for her to can. We came back with stained fingers and faces, buckets full of berries and chiggers ... ahhh..summer memories :)

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    1. We had a bramble in our yard in Morehead City for many years and my mother made blackberry pies and jam. The dog used to eat blackberries right off the plants at this time of year. I read that here in the Loire Valley foxes and badgers eat them. We have both around the vineyard, as well as a lot of birds.

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  4. We used to take clippers with us when we still had dogs. I hope you get some berries this year.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one to do that. Callie appreciates it when I cut her a path.

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