Over the past weeks it’s been blackberrying time down on the farm, but not just for us humans. Foxes, in particular, are keen blackberry pickers, and so are our five farm dogs.
Over the years they have learned just how good blackberries can taste and Bruce and Jessie are quite adept at nibbling the berry off the bramble without scratching themselves. Teazel and Holly are learning, but Barley prefers to eat a whole bunch at a time.
They have learn this by copying what we do, which is fine for blackberries but not so good when it comes to picking peas and beans in the kitchen garden. This year Barley tore up several pea plants by grabbing a peapod in his great big mouth and just pulling. The missus was not pleased. Runner beans are their favourite, and Barley, Jessie and Holly have got the knack of eating the beans in situ, slowly working their way up the beanstalks, even to the point of standing on their back legs to reach those really tender ones.
We hope one day to teach them to put their beans into a basket, but that seems a long way off. In the meantime, we would like to reassure any guests reading this half-eaten dog beans do not get into suppers!
Have you any spare blackberries? Thanks to www.hartonfarm.co.uk, here’s our recipe to make some delicious blackberry jam.