This year, with a nine-month-old in tow, it gets trickier. Since Johann was born we've continued doing the things we enjoy, and venturing out into the brush for berry picking is no different. (So far this year we've already foraged and enjoyed several different berries including salmonberries, red huckleberries, and thimbleberries.) With Ryan's help, it's relatively easy. One of us back-carries him in the Ergo, and aims for the easiest picking, while the other one dons long pants and boldly goes forth into the brush. Easy. So, I thought, why not try going on my own and just head for the easy picking?
We made it out alive, relatively unscathed, armed with two pounds of ripe blackberries. Not bad for a short time and a few extra challenges.
I've learned now that blackberry picking with a baby strapped to your chest presents several challenges.
One: you have to go where the blackberries are, which usually means off the trails and into full sun where the best berries (and the thorniest brambles, unfortunately) reside.
Two: you have to pass up several obvious precious clusters of ripe fruit, they're now out of reach because of the much more precious baby strapped to your chest.
Three: not only do you have to try a little harder to keep your balance, and stay away from the thorns, you also have to keep your baby from reaching out and grabbing thorny leaves and branches! Oye. There were tears.
Bottom line. It takes time and effort, and maybe some pain if you get stuck by thorns, but there is good fruit out there for the picking, it is free, all natural, and we take advantage.
And, at the end of the day, with the baby unit, blackberry picking is so much easier with the help of another. So we plan to carry on this family foraging tradition, and raise Johann to find joy in free and delicious fruit. But next time, I'll bring the dad unit!