Sharing with the planet, one tree at a time

IMG_2385-001Plums and blackberry juice have stained my fingernails.
My beau has half a dozen fruit trees and currently the plum is producing.
Also, that eyesore of impenetrable blackberry bushes has been my new favorite place in the yard.
I can be a little obsessive. If I’m at his house all day, I’ll do a thorough search for berries when I arrive, then peruse again right before I go home. Either I missed some, or more berries ripened over the course of the day.
Now I can walk by the delectable baskets of blackberries at the farmers market and think, “ha! I scoff at your baskets at $3 each.”
Note to self: It takes six cups of berries to make one cobbler in a 9-inch pan. I plan to make a lot of cobbler.

Blackberry bushes are not a welcoming plant
When I went to give blood recently, the gal checked my arms for drug tracks, and I was afraid I would be disqualified due to the scratches.
Of course it’s just my imagination, but it really feels as if the blackberry vines inch closer each time I strip a berry cluster.
If I had more patience, I would stand still in the thicket and set up a time-lapse camera. I’m convinced the camera would document the plants aiming thorns at my hair.
After several prickly encounters, I’ve added the pruning shears to my berry-gathering tool chest. If a long, thorny tendril gets in my way, it’s out of there.

Unburdening other burgundy-colored fruit
Plum trees also have thorns, I recently learned. You don’t know this until you’re four feet up a stepladder and trying to balance a five-gallon bucket.
The plums have been ripening for a few weeks now, and I now realize it won’t be the end of the world if some end up rotten.
The first week of plummage, I picked through the fallen fruit to salvage anything the birds hadn’t nipped.
I was afraid I would waste one or two.
While we watched movies, I sat cross-legged, surrounded by protective plastic bags, slicing fruit for the dehydrator.
Unless I plan to take up backpacking, there is currently enough dehydrated fruit to make it through February.

Giver not a taker
For so many years, I’ve been on the taking end of other people’s fruit. (Special thanks to my neighbor Bob and Sally at work).
Now that I have access to my boyfriend’s trees, we have arrived at numerous social functions with a bag of plums. When we recently looked at a promising house, the real estate agent received plums as well.
But you know you’ve saturated the market when you bring a bucket of fruit to work on Monday and half remains on Wednesday afternoon.
Please people: if someone brings fruit to work, bring it home and share it with your neighbors.
I checked with the Jesus Center and the Torres Community Shelter, and each said they’re happy when the public shares the bounty from their trees.
The Torres Shelter is at 101 Silver Dollar Way, which is right by California Water Service and Costco off Martin Luther King Boulevard. Best donation times are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At the Jesus Center, 1297 Park Ave., drop produce at the back door before 5 p.m.

Plum and blackberry recipes are welcome, especially suggestions for a granola topping: or on Twitter @HeatherHacking.

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