Dealing with Wildlife

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.

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