Sunday started out as a typical day. Billie wanted out at 6 o'clock as usual. A female deer was at the edge of the lawn, about 25 feet past Billie’s boundary line. All he could do was stand and bark at her. She showed little concern as she browsed along, seeming to know his range.
There would be no sleeping in today. She stood her ground and Billie continued to bark until I grabbed a cup of coffee and went outside. She politely left at that time and Billie came to me, wanting praise for protecting us from the deer. Though I would rather have gone back to bed, I told the trusty watch dog that he had done a fine job.
When my wife joined me on the porch, three gobblers were walking down the hill from the timber to graze on insects and white clover on the dam. A pair of red-winged blackbirds have a nest on the face of the dam, about halfway across. When the turkeys get too close to this area, the blackbirds fly around and harass the turkeys until they drive them farther down the dam, away from their nest.
To me, it is amazing such small birds can chase off three big gobblers. Billie watched the drama unfold as the turkeys came across the dam, getting closer to his yard. If they got much closer, he would have to chase them off, to protect us from the invaders.
During the second cup of coffee, we were trying to decide what we would have for breakfast. My wife had purchased some fresh blackberries at the grocery store on Friday, so we decided to have a healthy meal of yogurt, granola and blackberries. The berries were big and juicy, but the flavor was rather bland. They were one of those things that looked better than they tasted.
Our healthy meal filled the void and we started planning our day. The first thing on the agenda was to check the trail cameras. I did not want that task to wait a week. When a person has to go through two or three thousand pictures, it gets to be more like work than fun. I grabbed a couple more cameras and we headed out in the Ranger.
Along one of the first trails we rode, we noticed some wild blackberries were turning red. Wild blackberries go from green to red to black as they ripen. My wife noticed a few ripe berries in one group. We stopped and picked a handful.
Weather has a dramatic effect on them. Hot dry weather will cause the berries to be very firm and seedy with little flavor. This year has been perfect for blackberries: We have had ample amounts of rain at frequent intervals. The temperatures have not been extreme.
The flavor of the wild blackberries was nothing like the ones purchased at the grocery store. They tasted the way blackberries are supposed to taste.
It took us quite some time to make the rounds checking cameras and placing new ones. It seemed we had to stop frequently to eat a few berries. They are just starting to ripen so it will be necessary to go out berry picking as they mature.
Next time, we will take a container to put them in so we do not have to eat everything we pick. We can then have several healthy meals.