Manchester mourns teen killed in single-car crash Kylie S Lucas Sharon R Grooms Steven L Wootten Forest J McDaniel Ralph O Grooms Adams County teenager dies in auto accident Charles N Vance Wesley M Baldwin James Kennedy Tom A Mihalovich Brand hat trick leads North Adams past West Union 5-2 in SHAC soccer action Senior Profile: Bryant Lung Lady Hounds pull off thrilling Senior Night win Volleyball milestones continue to pile up at North Adams Banner season for Lady Indians soccer SHAC holds Junior High Volleyball Tournament Tournament match ups set for volleyball and soccer Senior Profile: Morgan Edmisten Hounds dominate, improve to 3-4 Is this not the best time of the year? Volley For The Cure is another big success Getting everything we ask for Oh, that dreaded leaf project Manchester: Adams County’s oldest community looks to the future with hope Congressman visits Manchester’s newest business Six candidates vie for MLSD School Board Highway 41 road work stalls MFD holds annual Safety Day for kids, families Lenora Mckee Virgie Cole Helen J Damron Karen S Lockhart Donna M Pelfrey Russell D Pollitt, Sr Karen S Lockhart Harris named Director of Shelter for the Homeless Local candidates abundant on November ballot Senior Profile: McKinlee Grooms Lady Dragons finish third in district golf tourney Lady Devils challenged, but survive to extend SHAC streak to 60 Rally falls short, Lady Hounds fall in five sets to Fairfield Senior Profile: Jessica Newman Lady Indians get shutout win over West Union, 2-0 Erwins host annual Herb Fair Bentonville: A community at the crossroads of Adams County history Tranquility, Wilson Homestead host annual Heritage Days Why we get back up Your local newspaper, the real deal Welcome to the morning klatch Oleda F Saunders Frank A Golden Shirley A Tully Hubert Knauff John T Shupert Celebrate the sports pages Gould, Woolard, defense lead Hounds to second win George E Lucas Betty A Johnson Hayes sentenced Sue Day Devils headed back to state golf tourney Earl R Fields Alberta L Steward Gregory Terry Linda Taylor Levies slated for November ballot Manchester residents forming neighborhood watch group West Union teachers receive prestigious award Crum arraigned in Brown County Common Pleas Court Seaman: A small town with a big heart and a family spirit Seaman Fall Festival again draws large crowds NAES participates in weekend food program AES Ohio Generation assumes control of DP&L assets West Union, Peebles take home county XC crowns Lady Devils win a soccer buzzer-beater Senior Profile: Brooklyn Wylie Lady Dragons move to districts Green Devils win sectional golf title West Union hosting fourth annual Alumni Volleyball Game Gray breaks Lady Indians’ single season goals record Senior Profile: Chase Cummings Lady Dragons cruise to SHAC title Hupp ties school record with five goals in Lady Devils’ win over Southeastern For 14th time in 15 years, Dragons claim SHAC Boys Golf Championship Getting life in order See those signals of the season Jury returns verdict in former Manchester police officer’s trial Larry Peters Gary L Hughes Sr Deanna L Parker Stephen R Fetters Bonnie Hawkins Clifton J DeMint Steven L Kimberlin When you just know The tradition of the Sunday dinner The emotions of leaving for college A hard habit to break Did it happen or did it not?

When a blackberry wasn’t just a cell phone, but delicious

By Rick Houser – 

I always think it important to point out that I was raised in the 50’s and 60’s to help set the background for what I am about to write about. It is more than safe to say that things were different than they are today. That really should come as no surprise and should be expected since “times are always a-changing”. As my Dad would say, “Son, there is only one thing that stays constant and that is change.”
When I was young and mid-summer came along, so did blackberry season. I’m not speaking of the domesticated types that are raised in gardens and yards, but the kind that grew on our farm and along the side of the road. Blackberries like to be where most other things can’t and in places that are also not the easiest to access. However if you have ever tasted a homemade blackberry pie, made from the berries Mother Nature grew personally. a person will gladly venture into a thicket of briars to gather the necessary ingredients to make such a pie.
In my younger days, I would follow my sister Peg and brother Ben just about any place at any time. I followed them blindly and unaware of what they were leading me into, but a big sister and brother telling me how much fun we were going to have out in the woods was convincing enough for me (at least the first time). I must admit that when the next time rolled around I wasn’t nearly as anxious to go with them, but I did, thinking that I might miss something.
We began by dressing in long pants and high socks along with an old long-sleeve shirt and a cap or hat. This was all for protection from the berry bushes and the rest of the elements you find when when you venture off the beaten trail. Out in the summer kitchen hanging from some nails were gallon paint buckets that had been cleaned and stored. I remember them as shining in the sun as they were bright silver painted metal buckets.
Armed and ready, we headed towards the edge of the woods first. These were the most accessible blackberries for us to start with. With three of us picking and if there were a lot of berries, our buckets seemed to fill up quickly. If we didn’t meet our quota at our first stop, we then would move on to places harder to get to such as steep banks and overgrown fence lines. It was a pretty certain thing that on a 200-acre farm we coudl pick more than enough for Mom to prepare the culinary delights we were hoping for.
We would take our harvest back to the kitchen where Mom was waiting, having pots and pans ready to begin her part. She knew we liked blackberries so much that we wouldn’t return empty- handed. Mom divided the berries into sections. Some were going into a couple of pies immediately, while others she cleaned and put in pint freezer bags so we could enjoy them throughout the winter. The last batch was put into the pot and made into pint jars of jelly. I really liked this because Mom made lots of strawberry preserves and I knew that with some blackberry jelly on the pantry shelf, I would get a change up from those preserves.
As the years passed, my sister grew up and moved away and Ben did the same thing. I noticed their absence when it was berry picking time and when I took a count of who was headed to the woods, the total was “one”, me. As I clawed my way through the briars and fought off the sweat bees, it seemed that no matter how careful I tried to be I was still getting scratched up quite a bit. This is when I would begin to hum a new rock and roll song that was out with the lyrics, “One is the loneliest number”. I would pick what I thought was a generous amount of berries and head for the kitchen so Mom could turn all the burdens I had experienced into deserts that one can only imagine if they have enjoyed it for real and if they had ever gathered them and had them prepared by experienced cooks.
After leaving the farm I would from time to time spot a berry patchalong the road and stop to pick a few. Sometimes it was just enough to be served up on top of a cake covered in sugar or in a bowl with some milk and sugar. No matter how a berry is prepared you will always hear the word sugar accompanying the berries. I’m not positive, but I think that might be the law.
When my son was in high school the township re-opened a township road that had been abandoned and traffic began to use it again. I noticed that down one side of the area was a nice blackberry patch, so I took a bucket and picked a nice amount. Not certain what to do next, I decided the best person to prepare this haul would be the school’s Home Economics teacher Janet Swarthout, whose son was a friend of my son.
I showed up at their home with bucket in hand and made the offer that she could have half of them if maybe I could get some blackberry cobbler? She said, “Well, since your arms and legs look like you fell into a barbed wire fence I will see what I can do.” I must admit I had forgotten about the thorns and had worn shorts and a short sleeved shirt.
A couple of nights later her husband knocked on our door and handed me a blackberry cobbler, still warm, and said, “Janet said to give this to you.” To thid date, that was my last berry-picking harvest. It might not be my last but let me tell you this- I definitely got to taste the rewards from my efforts. That cobbler was delicious!

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