Blackberry Bliss

aug 042

take time to stop and

enjoy the fruits of labor

then start new again


Blackberries grow wild all over the island, and come August I would dare say that it’s entirely possible for every household to fill their freezer with a year’s supply if they so desired.  Jam for the pantry, sauces for granola and yogurt, wine, cider, cordial, and bags filled for the freezer that become porridge fillers, smoothies, crumbles, and a variety of baked goods. Untainted by man, heaven sent, and free, free, free for the picking!!

Back in Maine, I too grew up with wild blackberries.  Many days myself, siblings, and friends presented ourselves home in a similar state as my above pictured middle child, Seán Proinsias–this, after gorging on the wild blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries that surrounded our neighborhood.  Yet another childhood memory is triggered and one I happily relive while creating new ones with my own children.

I almost didn’t meet Jamie’s 52 Weeks of Photography and Ronovan’s Haiku challenge this week.  My oldest daughter broke her arm and off to the mainland we went to spend a night and day in two different hospitals.  She’s fine and wasn’t in any desperate pain, so no worries there.  When we came home, we embraced an opportunity to spend a much more pleasant day and night with cousins and friends on a massive sleepover/playdate.  Fourteen children including my five, along with four of their cousins, and a friends five.  Add to that spaghetti, ice cream, and popcorn, a trampoline, swings, nerf guns, legos, and on demand movies, and you have some pretty happy kiddos. 🙂  That was the day. The sleepover is happening now.  There’s no blackberries involved in the morning pancakes I have planned.  Unfortunately, we ran out of them from the freezer already and will make due with some fresh rhubarb instead.  Topped with some warm maple syrup, you won’t hear anyone complain.

*A garden post is due.  So much has been done, but as usual for this time of year there’s not so much to show for it yet.  Still, seeds have germinated and there are pots and pots of two to six leaved green beauties beginning to fill the tunnel.  Lettuce, onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beetroot are sown outside.  The weather has been divine and I have taken some lovely pics…I’ll get to that later in this week.  I hope everyone is well and, please God, all your snow is nearly melted and signs of spring are all around you.  Melissa Xx 


  1. Roz Hill says:

    Hi Melissa… Fantastic family fun!! My two granddaughters are coming for a stop over next weekend, first time for the little one. I can’t keep up with gardening posts either! I had some play with clay… Wish I had time for more! Haha! I am into willow structures this week, will post soon. Keep meaning to check out your fermenting stuff, not done fermenting. As I recall my former husband slit his wrist from an exploding bottle making beer! Eeek! All the best to you and yours. Roz x❤️👒💛🍓

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sound busy, busy Roz! ‘Tis the season I suppose, longer and warmer days must be taken advantage of :). Enjoy every minute with your granddaughters. Sure they will love all you have to offer for fun on the farm! Kids dig the arts, crafts and gardening so much :). I look forward to see what you are up to with willow also. Talk soon, Melissa Xx


  2. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Well that is one happy boy! Love it! Hope your daughter is okay now, despite her broken arm – another joy of childhood. We love blackberries here too and a walk home from the school bus stop in the autumn takes about half an hour as opposed to the usual ten!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is still in the ‘sign my cast’ stage, so new and clean. I have been in a cast…the novelty wears off after the first week. But she is always upbeat and will be ok, even when it begins to feel cumbersome and itchy.
      There is never a problem getting the children to walk the dog in blackberry season…an extra long walk he gets, much like your autumn walks home from school 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful photo Melissa, a very happy boy 😀
    Good that your daughter didn’t suffer too much. Never fun with broken bones…
    When my now adult kids were kids, we did also pick up fruits and made all possible things with those, great memories 🙂
    Nice that the Spring is on the way to you too Melissa ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your children are adorable!! What a cheeky smile, I can’t help but smile back. Amazed you managed to get this post in this week what with a broken arm and all! Here’s to a quick and painless mend for you daughter – glad it wasn’t too traumatic.
    Great haiku with an important message – one I need to learn myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra, Actually I finished it because of you. After our conversation at start of week I found my back up picture discs and looked through them. This one touched my heart and I knew it was the one. Then I wrote the Haiku in the A & E waiting room. So I just had to pull it together in the moments between. So a big thank you for pointing me in the right direction! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh, so pleased to know I helped – I just love going through old pictures which were taken long before blogging. It’s such fun to share them now in this new context. Extraordinary how we manage to weave our creative life in amongst all our other threads – a richer tapestry of many layers. Fabulous. [I’m still impressed! 😉 ]

        Liked by 1 person

    • We have biting midges, no-see-ums. Whether they are the same or not, I think they have the same effect–very annoying and a bite that hurts more the following days. Swarmy annoying. Yeah, we would not be able to tolerate them and berry pick. They drive us in the house. Usually around in humid weather, so only a week or two at most in the summer.
      He is my middle boy and I am a middle child also, so that is a special bond we have. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Melissa, you are so brave, 14 kids sleepover! I’m glad you girl is done ok, kids always scaring us, nice haiku, I love blackberries as well, we have lots of them here, but my favourite is blueberry, thankful the time is coming to have lots of them, have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Yes, I did exactly the same when he walked in the door, all innocent and happy with hisself! This photo is a few years old, but not much has changed, only now he arrives with a few still in the bucket, tho still most in his tummy, on his hands, face, clothes….


  8. Hello! I love berries myself. We go to the farms here in Florida during the season and pick lots of strawberries. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s arm. I’m happy she’s alright and didn’t suffer much. That sleepover sounded awesome. May I be invited to the next one? I’m a good storyteller. 😉 Ha, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My grandparents moved to Florida when I was a young teenager and I used to visit them every year. We went strawberry picking in massive fields, I think it was around May, there might have been a strawberry festival or something going on too (a good few years (decades) ago!). They lived in St. Petersburgh area. Great memories 🙂 🙂
      Oh my goodness, what an amazing idea for a sleepover. And what a stellar treat that would be, seriously, to get an ace storyteller for a party…there could be a market for that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used to do it often with my nieces, nephews and their friends when they were younger. We would go camping or to the beach, have a bon fire and I would tell them stories or at home in the backyard. I loved doing it and they really enjoyed the stories––I miss doing that. Thank you so much for the kind words. 😀 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sarah says:

    Sorry to hear about your daughter’s arm – I hope it heals well and quickly – but the rest sounds delightful. We also had plenty of blackberries where I grew up in Wales. It would have been nice to have had raspberries and blueberries as well though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks–she is doing fine, missing her gymnastics (hence, the broken arm) but not missing banjo practice! I do miss the raspberries so we bought some bushes and they provide very nicely. The blueberry plants, not so well, but I am still hopeful that with a little more care they may do better in the future. Fortunately, I ate plentiful in my youth of them both!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah says:

        My son broke his leg last summer and has had to stop doing his martial arts. It must be hard for your daughter to miss her gymnastics. I hope she can get back to it soon.
        My raspberries haven’t been in long so I haven’t had a good crop yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this year. I have my blueberry bush in a pot with ericaceous compost because my soil is too limey. It does quite well. I’ve had a few good years out of it so far. Have you tried boosting the acidity of your soil somehow?
        Hope you’re enjoying the sun. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • We have had okay fruiting with our raspberries, but I am never sure because the children eat them so we don’t see most of them 😀 I have never been too great at the pruning either. But you know what I did this year? I pruned the stems that ‘fruited last year’ as instructed and stuck them in the ground aside the existing plants. Don’t you know they are full of leaves and buds? They must have rerooted. Don’t know if they will produce fruit this year or not, but I have faith they will eventually. I grouped them into two clumps of about 12 canes each. It is like having two new plants. Fingers crossed here too.
          We are very limey here also and have used an organic ericaceous fertilizer. Mostly we dilute whey left from making yogurt to feed them also. We get buckets of whey from the cheese factory too.
          Her gymnastics was quite informal, no teacher, maybe better termed ‘horsing around’. Ha, ha! I actually broke mine while in a gym with a teacher so goes to show you, it can happen either way! 🙂 A broken leg has got to be worse than a broken arm! Poor fella.
          Yes, I am loving every minute of the sunshine! Everyone in Ireland is in a good mood this week!! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sarah says:

            I love the way plants do magical things like your raspberry prunings. It’s always worth giving it a try, isn’t it?
            My son broke his leg horsing around too. He’s never had anything worse than a few bruises from the martial arts classes. None of our family has ever broken a bone before so there was a bit of a learning curve and we couldn’t really fully know what he was going through. It was certainly painful, and he’s still not quite back to normal even now.
            We’re in Co. Mayo. The rain came back today. We even had a frost this morning. Hard to believe the school kids were buying ice creams yesterday and running from wasps. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

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