Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peaches, Blackberries, Dahlias and Deer

Finding a new blackberry patch took a little time. Our favourite one in Victoria was found on Christmas Hill. Here we spent some time driving around, stopping periodically to get out and inspect the bushes. The right spot for us is away from roads (to prevent car exhaust fouling the berries), a source of water (for juicier berries), and accessibility (utterly crucial).

We found a spot with all of the above and one more thing. Proximity to the sea. We can hear the waves rolling in on the shore as we pick and then, the buckets full and in the car, we walk a few steps to the beach, kneel at the water's edge and wash our sticky hands. Boy, does the salt water ever make those blackberry thorn scrapes sting!

Most of the berries are in the freezer, to be used in cobblers, sauces and on Tim's breakfast granola. This morning I made a batch of peach blackberry jam. Oh, so yummy on toast or scones.

Last week, with the first batch of blackberries, I made some peach blackberry turnovers. And as you can see, I forgot to take a picture until I'd taken that first bite. Ooops. I make them with phyllo pastry sheets - fast and easy.

I'm pretty sure the deer are angry with us. We've been trying to protect our shrubs and plants from being devoured by covering them with mesh. That worked for awhile, but the deer soon learned to push down on the mesh and the most tender new growth would poke through, enough for them to chomp every bit of it down. So on Saturday Tim put up bamboo poles and a serious deer mesh fence. No pushing will permit leaves through this! It's not pretty, but until we can get a fence built we would like to protect the plants.

But the very next day, my dahlia plant was missing the largest, most beautiful blossom. You can see a few scattered petals that escaped being dinner. I thought deer didn't like dahlias. I'm sure it ate it just out of spite. It left two other blossoms, and there are many buds coming. Will they survive? It might be time to expand the fencing. Sigh. Our yard is looking like Leavenworth prison - but keeping the plants IN and the deer OUT.


Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Actually, we loved that there was a bite taken from that delectable looking turnover!

My SIL often mentions going blackberry picking (she lives in your part of the world).... we've enjoyed her homemade blackberry pancake syrup in the past.

Makes me lips smack... don't they look luscious!

Happy day............

cieldequimper said...

Hmmmmmm! :-)

Pondside said...

Next week I'll be into the blackberry bushes - wearing denim, from head to toe!
The deer down here love dahlias - big treat!

Jessica said...

Yummy! Those blackberry turnovers look so delicious. Would you ever post your recipe?


Vee said...

And this is why the graceful deer can be so despised. Here, gardeners use human hair to keep deer out of the garden. They place it in onion bags or mesh bags and tie it to shrubs or poles. I, having never tried it myself, have no idea of its efficacy.

Judy said...

Peach blackberry jam...what a great idea. I have peaches...and blackberries...and soon the jam.

Sorry about the deer challenges!

Maggie said...

Taking a bite before taking the photo is something I would do too, so funny.
The dahlia is lovely, thanks goodness the deer left you one to show us.
Have a great weekend.

Pamela said...

You'll have to come to my house Lorrie my whole yard is invested with Blackberry bushes! Boy do the thorns ever hurt! Being new to the island i have never seen sooo many berry bushes everywhere i go!
Mine are free for the taking just make sure you have your protective gear on!!

Cristal @ Dapple Design said...

We plan to go on our first blackberry picking expedition tomorrow. They look wonderful this year!

Britt-Arnhild said...

We are busy picking berries in The Blue Garden these days.

Deers are pretty but can do a lot of damage.

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