The raspberries and thimbleberries have come in. It is easy to confuse the two as both have similar looking and tasting berries. Raspberries have long distinctive thorns on smooth vines while thimbleberries have somewhat fuzzy vines with more closely spaced and shorter thorns. The differences matter little to Juana and Charlotte as both want to start the harvest. They see berries that are ready to eat. Unfortunately, this year the berries have taken up residence on the back hill surrounded by poison ivy and other weeds that are perilous to walk though. Compounding the difficulty is the fact that some of the best plants have grown in and near my piles of brush containing old rose vines and other prickly branches.
We should attack this with pants and gloves, but we don’t and are lucky that we can get shoes on Charlotte as she has taken to running around the back yard unclad as would any of the animals that snack on our garden.
I walk through initially with gloves pointing out and pulling poison ivy and dropping it out of the way. I also look to move branches out of the way and start to clear a path so we can walk though easily.
We start harvesting berries with Juana and I placing them into our baskets and Charlotte into her mouth. All of a sudden Charlotte starts to scream and I see a tiny wasp attached to her ankle. I swat away at it but the damage has been done. Charlotte has received her first sting or more accurately bite. She attempts to be brave but the tears start running down her cheek. I quickly go over to our patch of jewelweed and pull some leaves while Juana consoles Charlotte. I pick Charlotte up and Juana makes a poultice from the leaves applying it to the bite. In a few minutes the swelling in her ankle goes down and she stops crying. She must have accidently stepped on a nest or bothered the wasp as it was scavenging. It was a very tiny wasp, but for Charlotte it was huge (see above illustration.)
After Charlotte calms down, we are extra careful in picking berries and soon our baskets are full. We take these berries as well as the blueberries that we have just harvested and wash them for lunch. Charlotte enjoys a large bowl of mixed berries with whipped cream. She still remembers the sting but has a smile on her face as the berries are yummy and she wants a second helping with more whipped cream.