As much as I love elderberries, elderberry pies and tarts I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to walking through the long grass and marsh that is require to get to the wild berries growing on my family farm. This past weekend I managed to get enough berries for a pie (from quite literally the low-hanging fruit) that I could make a pie.
This brings to mind a problem I have when it comes to harvesting from wild plants that regular gardeners don’t face: wildlife.
I don’t mind taking those first few steps into the long grass, especially when I haven’t, to that point, seen anything untoward. But I don’t have the chops to boldly sashay through the thicket without thinking about what might be crawling, slithering – or whatever – around my feet.
This past weekend my Tentativity Level reached its maximum after I stepped off the old lane that leads to the back side of the marsh in order to snag a couple of elderberry clusters only to feel an overly friendly garter snake give my ankle a hug.
Now, I’m not afraid of snakes… as long as I see them first. But this guy broke the rules.
Unfortunately for me the rest of my foraging was tainted by this snake and its affectionate streak. If I there hadn’t been an abundance of easy-to-access fruit I might have had to have resorted to driving the tractor around and working off its back… which is not really in keeping with the spirit of why I like utilizing the local edible wilds.
As the birds increase their onslaught on the easy-to-access fruit I may well have to resort to the tractor for height as much as for its bubble of safety from unwanted snake love. We shall see.