The blackberries are darkening and swelling on the brambles and the apples are bowing down the branches of their mother trees. My mind always turns at this time of year to one of my best buddies; Kizzy, our family dog. Sadly Kizzy died a few years ago now and not a day goes by when I don't think about her warm furry snout and deep searching eyes. We even named a dune on the beach after her as she would launch herself down it on her frequent trips to the beach with such a frenzy of salty dog excitement . However, at this time of year in particular I cannot look at a blackberry or an apple without thinking of her. She was addicted to both.
|Kizzy going equipped for blackberry picking!|
Every night before bed she would ask for an apple. We might forget but she wouldn't and she would sit down in front of you with 'that look' to make you go and get her one. Trips through apple orchards were sheer joy for her as she grazed either from the windfalls or from lower slung branches. Meanwhile, woodland or hedgerow walks would entail frequent stops by blackberry bushes and any we picked would be naturally shared on a 50/50 basis. Many a time blackberry foragers, unaware of Kizzy's enforcement of a 'blackberry tax' on her 'patch', would be perplexed at the purple snout stained dog sidling up and sitting down next to them as they picked. Her tactics usually worked after our explaination of her blackberry love. Getting her to move on was the only issue.
She loved other vegetables and fruit, and would often wander out to the kitchen at the sound of knife on chopping board to see what she could obtain. She also used to sneak off up dad's garden in order to steal a strawberry or two from his patch. However, blackberries and apples were her definite favourites. Perhaps she was aware of their healthy qualities, particularly of the anti-cancer vitamin B17 present in the seeds of apples, blackberries (particularly wild grown), and other non citrus fruits, but more about that in another post. More likely she just absolutely loved the taste!
One year I even made a wine in her honour. I called it Kizzy's Tipple. It was drinkable and got you merry but beyond that it was more fun creating it than drinking it. I'm sure Kizzy would have preferred to have eaten the apples and blackberries I used for it herself.
So, as I scramble through the brambles this year I am sure to still feel that hopeful gaze of my furry buddy as I pick away. I admit, I even throw her the odd one here and there and I'm sure I hear the satisfied snapping of that velvety snout upon interception.