Introduction: Pick Blackberries With a Ladder
Here some blackberries are growing on a hillside. The lower canes tend to be picked over by passing hikers and cyclists, but the blackberries grow all the way up. The best and ripest blackberries are always out of reach. Bring a ladder to reach new heights and the biggest, juiciest blackberry.
Step 1: Set Up the Ladder
Extend the ladder to full height, position it underneath the motherload of just-out-of-reach blackberries, and drop it down on top of the canes. It's rare that any canes actually break, and I don't worry much about it because the canes are biennial and the ones with berries are going to die at the end of season. The root of the plant is perennial, and will continue growing new canes over top of the dried, dead ones. In fact, climbing up on the hillside aided by ladder, I've never seen the ground underfoot; this particular hillside might be composed entirely of dead blackberry canes.
Step 2: The Blackberry Ladder Technique
Jessy demonstrates the technique. Climb up, pick blackberries, be the envy of everyone passing by.
Toddlers are excellent berry pickers, although not so great berry collectors. Here, Corvidae works the mid-altitudes.
Step 3: Advanced Techniques
Use old shoe laces and a plastic take-out container to free up both hands for picking.
I brought a tarp thinking I would place it underneath the ladder, but found this unnecessary. I also brought some rope to pull the ladder away from the hillside, but found I didn't need that either.
My inspiration for imagining ladders everywhere, was at Burning Man several years ago. In the events leading up to the actual burn, there are performances and such around the Man. Since it's flat, only the people in the front can actually see what's going on at ground level. So, I biked back to camp and brought out a ladder to make an impromptu viewing platform.
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