If you happened to hear some weird sounds emanating across Butler County Monday morning, I apologize.
It was me sounding like a 4-year-old girl as a great wall of thorns seemingly poked, prodded and sucked every ounce of blood out of me.
I had gone out with a friend to pick blackberries, but in reality, they pretty much ended up picking me instead.
We had been watching several patches of berries for a few weeks, just waiting for them to ripen enough to pick, and after two consecutive days of rain last week, things turned better quickly.
On Monday, we hit the area early, with sand buckets in hand. His is decorated in a Spider-Man theme, and mine is a cool translucent, lime green. Don’t laugh, those buckets are perfect for the job, and besides, when you’re out in the boonies, nobody cares.
We try to pick blackberries every summer, though the crop has been a dud a few times, and over all the years, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two.
For instance, I never go out without first spraying my clothes with permethrin to prevent problems with ticks, chiggers and other critters. It works wonders, and I haven’t gone home with a bug in at least 10 years.
I also learned long ago not to wear short-sleeved shirts while berry picking. That’s because those little juicy morsels have a tendency to reach out and bite you with their sticky thorns — not literally, of course — and the experience can be quite painful.
And that’s where the aforementioned weird sounds come into play, regardless of my not-so-protective long-sleeve shirt.
I confess that was me screaming in pain, and I’m fairly certain I also may have tossed out a few unsavory words in the process.
It just goes with the territory, but man, it sure hurt.
I was scratched up pretty badly, and all night I felt like my hands and forearms were on fire, but in the end, it was worth it. I got close to two gallons of berries before I got too tired and hot.
After a few days, the scratches and wounds have healed, and that’s a good thing because I plan on heading right back out into the battle zone for more berries until they’re all dried up.
It may sound like a bit of a death wish, but you’ve got to get them while the getting is good.
Paul Davis is assistant editor at the Daily American Republic. He can be reached at email@example.com.