Lessons from the Blackberry Patch

Rules for life, learned in the blackberry patch.

I've picked more blackberries this year than ever before - it's been a really good year for them with the abundant spring rain we've had - and on my last trip out to the wild thickets there were still plenty of red, immature berries on the canes, promising to ripen and provide more fruit should I want to go picking again.

As I leaned through the thorny canes in reach of the next ripe black-purple jewel, I enjoyed the cool breeze that lied about the afternoon heat to come and listened to my neighbor's cows bawl to their calves. Birds sang in the woods behind me. My big, yellow farm dog Cracker sprawled out nearby,  tired out from chasing off anything that might threaten me. What a great morning.

During a decade of berry-picking, I've decided that Velcro® was invented by someone who spent his childhood summers caught in a tangle of blackberry thorns. I've also made up a list of the unofficial Rules of Blackberry Picking - which, by the way, also make a good list of Rules for Life.

Friends make time go by faster and work becomes fun - rules for life as learned in the blackberry patch.

1. Map out a path before you start. Before you start climbing into a thicket full of nasty thorns, look ahead and have a plan - also have a path in mind when you back out of the thicket.

2. Be aware of the dangers around you. Keep your eyes and your face safe, and keep thorns from catching in your hair and your clothing.

3. Ask for help when you're stuck.

4. Don't procrastinate. Yes, it's hot, but the peak of harvest waits for no woman.

Picking berries is hot work, but in the end it's worth it.

5. Have patience. Berry picking isn't a sprint, neither is life. Take your time. Enjoy the experience.

6. Change your perspective. By looking up, and then down, you'll find berries that were hidden before. When you get to the end of the thicket, go back the way you came to spot berries you might have missed the first time.

7. Don't be greedy. Be willing to share with the wildlife.

A wild and thorny blackberry thicket contains the juicy, sweet berries.

8. Friends make work fun, and time go faster.

9. Sing loudly. It scares off the wildlife.

10. Life has both thorns and sour berries, just like a blackberry thicket. But in the end it's worth it.

A morning in a blackberry patch teaches rules for living.

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at: 
Facebook | Pinterest | Subscribe


  1. I love the analogies (and I love blackberries too)! Thanks for sharing your post at Tuesday's with a Twist. :)

  2. Love this! Although I usually go diving into a blackberry thicket without planning much at all (shorts and tank top? who cares! BLACKBERRIES!! bahaha...). Even with the bloody arms and legs later on...totally worth it! ;D

  3. Rose! Shorts and tank top?? I shudder! I was attacked by thorns twice this year, they scratched my leg even through my heavy denim jeans, and the second time I was stuck and had to ask for help to get loose. You be careful!

  4. Wow, I never realized picking blackberries was so perilous! Hope you enjoyed the harvest! Thank you for sharing this outdoor post on this week's Maple Hill Hop!

  5. It is, Daisy! I'm convinced that the inventor of Velcro picked blackberries as a child.

  6. Lovely berry patch! l

  7. I found a great way to keep the thorns out of your fingers and from scratching your hands. I took an old pair of rubber gloves and cut the index finger and thumb tip out of my right hand or left if you are left handed.) A good hat, long sleeves, pants and boots keep the ticks and sun from ruining the blackberry experience. I LOVE your sing a song point!

  8. I'll be giving that tip a try, Tracy. Thank you for stopping by.

  9. Oh a great post. You brought back some wonderful memories for me. My grandfather actually planted and raised these beautys. They are my favorite fruit. His were planted in rows so it was a little easier. You've brought back wonderful memories for me. Thank you. Many blessings,

  10. I'm glad you enjoyed it and that it brought back so many good memories!

  11. Great tips Kathi! Thanks for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :) I especially like your sing loud... that makes sense to me :)

  12. Love it! Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday.

  13. I love this! Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday! :)

  14. Kathi1:24 PM

    You're so welcome, Kara.

  15. It looks like you were able to get a ton of fresh blackberries! They look delicious!

    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday. We'll be featuring this article this week!

  16. What a nice way to look at life. Hello from Natural Living Monday.

  17. Hello, Melissa. Thank you for stopping by.

  18. Great list of berry-picking (and life) lessons, Kathi!

    Growing up in western NY, we went blackberrying every summer. Sometimes it was the whole family and my Gram too...sometimes I just slipped off and ate until I was bursting at the seems. :)

    We didn't have wild black raspberries and I loved them, and was a little bit jealous of people who had them growing wild. Now, in Illinois, we have wild black raspberries taking over the edges of our property, but no blackberries! And I miss the blackberries :)

    Thanks for reminding me of the wonderful bounty of my childhood!

    1. Oh how wonderful, Lisa! This is the first place we've had wild berries of any kind and I'm so thankful for them. (Maine had wild blueberries, but at that I didn't like blueberries and we didn't have any near our property.) And like you, I'm a bit jealous of others who have different kinds of wild berries.

  19. Helen9:40 PM

    Here in Australia I focus more on my feet in the safety aspect (watch out for snakes!) though we look out for the thorns too. Sometimes I bring a pair of secateurs to help me out of a sticky patch. Looking forward to Summer. It's Winter here.


Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will leave a comment - I would love to hear from you. If you wish to email me instead, please click here. Thank you!