Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's The Difference ... Blackberries or Black Raspberries?!

Today, while continuing my arduously slow pace down my MooseBoots trail, I was excited to realize that I can tell the difference between a black raspberry flower and a blackberry flower.  While this may not sound terribly thrilling to most, it is very satisfying for me.  This is not something I learned by reading or researching.  This is knowledge acquired solely by observation.

Wendy and I have been trying to stay on track with our foraging efforts.  This is increasingly difficult this time of year ... dance recitals, gathering wood for the coming winter, birthdays, anniversaries, and such.  It has been a few weeks since we have gone out.  In the foraging world, this is not recommended because things change so quickly.

Over the past long weekend, I made an effort to get into the woods.  I ran out of stinging nettles for tea and had to get more from the large nearby patch.  Wendy was working and the girls didn't want to play, so I headed out alone.  It provided the opportunity for me to meander along and stop and look at things more closely.  I found many plants just coming to life ... some that I have been awaiting but could not find in their younger states (bunchberries, sarsaparilla, etc.)  I found a huge patch of bunchberries that I knew were there but could not see before this.  I stopped and picked a "mess" of nettles.  These I am dehydrating for tea.  I sang as I picked and thanked them.  As I picked, I watched the butterflies playing on the newly forming seed head.  I also found a few lady bugs.

After I picked the nettles, I wandered around the field where they grow.  Wendy and I have been here many times this year.  The changes are incredible.  Many of the plants were first saw are now larger and developing, but other are just starting.  It is amazing to see the new things that I hadn't seen before.  As I walked, I found many, many blackberry plants, flowering and preparing to start growing their fruit.  They are everywhere.  I also located a third large stand of stinging nettles.

As I wended my way home, I was surprised to find moose tracks along the path.  The stride length and size of the tracks were clearly not deer.  Now, I know there are moose around, but they are not terribly common where I live, they are also not unheard of.  But, to think that I was following a moose, my heart skipped a beat for a second.  Don't get me wrong ... the tracks were easily days old, but ... I was able to follow its trail for a hundred yards or so.

The culmination of this whole experience came today, when I found our black raspberries are beginning to flower.  They are clearly different.  And, the whole scene pulled together for me ... I have been seeing blackberries everywhere.  I count myself very fortunate to have been able to build my awareness to this point.  I wonder where my MooseBoots path will take me next.


  1. Congratulations on being able to tell the difference now - that's awesome! As is the moose trail - WOW!!!
    My Bubby was really excited to see these pictures. We've been playing Wildcraft a lot lately (played this morning during a big rainstorm, actually!) and he doesn't really remember stinging nettle from when we've been to WA. He was super excited to see this and to hear that you know how to make tea from them. :)

  2. Thanks, Melonie. It is so cool you guys are playing Wildcrafting. We have not bought it, but I see that it is being offered for half price in the next week or so on Perhaps, it is time to get it.

  3. I would definitely grab one while it's on sale - might even be the time to pick some up for friends for gifts as well. I'm making a list of how many I need for that part. :)

  4. How wonderful and appropriate that you saw the mooseprint. I so enjoy seeing animal's prints in the soil (grassy areas are too tricky for me!). Deer tracks through the gardens, rabbit tracks (again through the gardens)...even bird tracks are interesting...

    Thank you for sharing, especially at this busy time of the year. I FB often, but to sit down and write a blog article takes more time and thought - I was shocked when I realized I only posted once in May!

    Have a great weekend :)

  5. Julie, you are always welcome. Blogging does seem to take more work, but I do enjoy sharing.

  6. That's a very sweet writing to read. :)
    Congrats for that awesome knowledge!
    Want to learn some public hunting maps? Click here for more information.

  7. Henry, thank you. I will be checking out your blog (as a fledgling bowhunter).

  8. Thanks for the comparison between these two.



Thank you for leaving a comment on MooseBoots.

If you have not, please follow this blog by clicking the "Follow" button.