Bramble picking

Today we decided to go bramble (blackberry) picking. It was a good day for it. The sun was shining (most of the time) and there were plenty of ripe juicy brambles on the bushes. Bramble picking can be quite therapeutic. I love being outdoors with the sun warming your skin. I kinda find it easier to chat to God outside too and I often feel like I learn stuff from studying nature.

I have been picking brambles at this time of year since I was a little girl. My granny used to make Bramble Jelly and my sister and two brothers and I would help her pick the brambles for it. Then when Granny decided to retire from making it all her equipment was passed on to my mum (who also took us to help gather the fruit) and now it’s been passed to me. My mum passed it on quite a lot sooner than Granny did. 😉

Inevitably when you’re picking brambles you get scratched – they’re thorny little suckers. You also have to try to avoid nettles and thistles, not to mention the flies, wasps and spiders! But it’s worth it. Even though you know it’s gonna hurt a bit, at the end of the day you’re gonna have some yummy fruit to eat. In my case it’s gonna make some of my granny’s awesome (hopefully) Bramble Jelly which goes perfectly with so many things but especially with peanut butter in a sandwich. There is beauty among the thorns too. Today I saw ladybirds and butterflies not to mention the less appealing bugs.

All this got me thinking about pain in life. Yes, I know it’s a heck of a lot sorer than a few scratches but it seems like it is also inevitable. Clearly you do what you can to avoid it but it happens anyway. I guess you can also make it worse if you dive right into that thorny bush (or trip up and fall in there). Even when there is pain though there is still beauty around. It may be difficult to focus on it when you’re hurting but it is there. Right beside the thorns there is fruit growing too. Often the painful experiences help us to grow. They might even be able to help us nourish others in time. And God can take that fruit and turn it into something even more amazing. I’m sure it’s not a perfect analogy but it made some sort of sense to me. Hopefully it makes sense to you too?

Oh and just in case you’re interested I’ll put my granny’s recipe here.

Bramble and Apple Jelly

Ingredients:

Brambles – as many as you want to pick

Apples (about 2 big apples for 3lbs of brambles)

Sugar (1lb per pint of liquid)

Method:

Lightly wash fruit and cut apples up small including the core (you can remove the stalk and the little leafy bit at the bottom).

Put all the fruit in a large jelly pan. Just cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until it is all soft and mash with a potato masher.

Drain fruit through jelly bag overnight.

Measure liquid and add appropriate amount of sugar. Boil until it reaches 220 degrees C on thermometer. (Test on a cold plate to see if it sets).

Pour jelly into hot sterile jars (dishwasher and heat in oven). Place jam covers and lids on while hot (carefully).

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