Season’s first ripe blackberry

The wild blackberries here on the mountain are a two-edged sword. The berries are delicious (especially when cooked into a cobbler with a lemon cornmeal crust), but the harvest is a thorny affair that often results in ripped sleeves, pierced digits and purple fingertips. Spotted the first few ripe ones yesterday.

(Drops head sheepishly) Yes. I ate them.

6-11-16 First Blackberry


The teeny, weeny grasshopper claimed the coreopsis flower for his own after the painted lady butterfly moved on to its next nectar source. In the earlier photo on the bottom, it almost looks like the grasshopper is ducking while the butterfly feeds.

6-11-16 Pipsqueak6-11-16 Share and Share Alike


The plentiful spring and summer rains were good for wild fruit here on our Ouachita ridge top. While the clusters on vines nearer the house were reduced to raisins by a stretch of 100-degree days, the ones in the woods survived just fine. The birds, raccoons and coyotes will eat well. At least one of the persimmons will wind up being plucked and its seed split for our annual winter forecast.

Spring’s abundance

Even if spring was a little late coming to the mountain, the trees and vines have made up for lost time. The first grape clusters are everywhere and the mulberry tree’s offerings are looking abundant so far. It’ll be a race to see who gets there first — the birds or us! (The birds usually win. This is their territory.)

Green mulberries.
Green mulberries.
Baby grapes clusters.
Baby grapes.


Flying phlox

The bright pink of these wild phlox caught my eye while wandering around the deer trails in the Ouachita (pronounced “WASH’-ih-taw”) Mountains. An incoming storm system brought some big winds from the south and even at ground level (at 700 feet or so), these phlox were flying.

wind blown phlox
WIND BLOWN — Plenty of wind at ground level when you grow at 700 feet.