Normally I would have already picked my elderberries by now, but this year the powers that be conspired against me. First there was a crew working on the road that leads up the mountain behind my place, and the road was closed to traffic. Then I became involved in a minor capacity in a search and rescue operation. That is a rather sad story, and I really haven’t felt much like posting it here. It could have turned out much worse than it did though, and I may still write about it, but at another time. Now, this being a Friday, the general deer and bear seasons open tomorrow, and I really don’t want to be out in the mountains this weekend. Maybe not this entire week. So I put off the elderberry picking for now and went after the black berries today.
The berries are as numerous as ever in my favorite patch, but they seem smaller than in previous years. I have a berry bush in my back yard too, and it isn’t doing well this year. I have to cut that bush back every fall to keep it from taking over the back of my house, and maybe I over did it last fall and it put all its energy into new grown instead of producing berries. Or maybe it is just a bad year for black berries. Be that as it may, the berries where I went today were really in need of picking. Bordering on over ripe, some would fall off the bush at the slightest touch; but full of juice and sweet as honey. I have the purple stained hands to prove it. I came away with a pretty good haul.
Tomorrow I will run them through my sieve to separate the seeds and any small stems from the juice and pulp which will be turned into jars of black berry jam. Then I’ll see about those elderberries.