In my yard there are two beds of raspberry canes. One is on the south side of the house, resplendent with the full sun and rainwater shed from the garage roof. These raspberries are aggressively challenging the neighboring rose shrub for domination. The other bed is on the north side of the yard and is shaded by a maple tree and set off from the rest of the lawn by a hedge. These canes don’t spread as much but have big beautiful berries, maybe because they aren’t roasting for eight hours every sunny day. The big southern bed is very productive but I love the northern bed’s seclusion. The main problem with it is that the mosquitoes also love it. When I go out there, dozens descend on me in seconds with a furious appetite. I thought I would need an aide to smack the blood-suckers away while I picked, but discovered that if I stopped and stood still for a second, the most unwary of the bunch would roar in and I could kill handfuls with some rapid-fire acrobatic swatting. Then, my body smeared with the crushed entrails of the vanquished as a warning to the others, I pick berries while contending sporadically with the more cautious and strategic insects. I suppose in a way I am contributing to the evolution of a smarter, more successful mosquito, but I can’t worry about that now; I have berries to harvest. I pick as quickly as I can, swatting periodically, killing bugs with nearly every smack. The texture of their tiny but fleshy bodies rolling beneath my fingers is disgusting. My skin bears the red prints of my hands from my increasingly strenuous slaps. The longer I am out here the more agitated I get. The dragonflies love me, though. They zip through the air around me, lighting on the leaves, gorging on mosquitoes to their heart’s content. I am like chum, luring in their catch. Finally, enough is enough and I make a run for the full sunshine, where skeeters fear to tread. Like vampires, which they kind of are.
I am trying this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Raspberry-Chipotle-Sauce/Detail.aspx
Don’t forget to check out the previous post “When the Meteor Hits, Plus a Chance to Win!” and leave a comment there to win a handcrafted very cool and earth-friendly recycled plastic market bag.
Ah, yes, summer in Minnesota! And the state bird is still alive and getting healthier, thanks to your raspberry picking. Stay strong! Loved it! Don’t miss Minnesota, just my relatives!