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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, May 21, 2006

grumpy bear

There is an old descriptive phrase “as grumpy as a bear”, and I believe I have discovered another reason that it is true – besides the several obvious ones. As you may or may not know, bears are pretty much omnivorous – this according to the list I saw. One of the foods listed was berries – and blackberries would certainly have to be one of these.

The vast majority of wild blackberries have thorns and since bears don’t have hands, deductive reasoning causes me to believe that they pick them with their mouth. When a bear is “as hungry as a bear”, it would follow that the animal is none too careful about the abundance of thorns surrounding the berries.

It would then seem to me that this type eating would tend to be at least somewhat painful, unless the bear’s mouth is much tougher than I think it is. It would again follow that being constantly pricked by the thorns would make the bear grumpy – hence the saying.

Perhaps you are wondering where all this is going and the reason for all this wonderful information. In other missives I have mentioned the plethora of wild blackberries in and about our yard. Most of the time my only dealings with these plants is to rip them up with gloved hands. Today I decided to try something different and see if I could pick enough of these wild berries to make a cobbler.

Several factors were involved in the picking of the berries. They could not be picked with gloved hands – their thorns, though small, are very sharp – not all the berries were ripe and had to be searched for – the berries were small – and this plant has a ‘trailing’ growth pattern. This last phrase of the sentence means that they grow along the surface of the ground and one has to lean over to pick them. One could always kneel on the ground to pick the berries but it is not happy time to kneel on thorns.

After about an hour of this struggle and having only picked about a pint of berries, I decided enough was enough and called a halt to my misery of fingers and back. Several things were learned – whether a person is good or bad, thorns still puncture skin – we need to decide when to call a halt to non-productive activity – if we are doing something that causes us pain, we are also the one that has to decide to quit before we get “as grumpy as a bear”. At least a couple of these can be used in a spiritual sense as well. ec


Blogger JunieRose2005 said...

what a great message you give us with your post today!

...AND apart from the message- I have a funny story about blackberry picking (from my husband's farm life)
which I will write up and post one day soon!


5/21/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Good point. And, I'd encourage that bear to move to higher ground.

5/21/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I could hardly BEAR that GRUMPY post, it made me BERRY sad.
I don't know whether our blackberry's are the same strain as yours but here in Oz they are a noxious weed that can cover huge areas if left unchecked, they do however yield a lot of berries, we can pick, (carefully) a bucket of blackberries in about half an hour from good bushes.

5/21/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

junierose - Picking blackberries and life in general can both be prickly situations.

bonita - Where bears are concerned, I don't stick around to see whether they are going to higher or lower ground. :)

peter - These are noxious indeed and grow right along the ground, making it hard to pick enough to do anything with. They are a real pain - in several areas of the body. ec

5/21/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Those thorns are why I don’t pick berries.

I always assumed that bears were grumpy when awakening for hibernation, but your explanation is even more plausible.

5/21/2006 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger country-gospel-singer said...

Very good post. Never thought about the bear and the thorns! Might have a point there! Sharp one at that! LOL Yes, Paul talked about a thorn in his side. Maybe we all have at least one?? Yes, we have at least 3 outside cats to keep down the mice. Instead of One A Day Vitamins; we were getting One A Day Mouse! Many blessings, Janie Marie

5/22/2006 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Mr Eddie ~~ So that's why bears are grumpy!! Sounds like you were close to grumpy also picking those berries.
Did I mention Ilove blackberry jam?Glad you liked the Frog story and
it's message. Take care, Merle.

5/22/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - It is good that my blueberries don't have thorns - but the wild blackberries that try to grow under them do. The pulling of them seems to be a neverending job.

CGS - Do your cats bring the deceased mouse to you for your approvial?

merle - Blackberry jam is one of my favorites too - it's just that the picking of the berries is such a pain - literally. Blackberry cobbler with a dollop of vanilla ice cream is not bad either. :) ec

5/22/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Granny said...

We had something called black longberries in central New York. Not unlike blackberries only longer?

They too grew wild and had thorns but they were well worth it.

No bears back then - now, with urban sprawl, I'm not so sure.

5/22/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

granny - I believe I've read about something like that but haven't see them myself. The blackberries that grow on the more upright canes are usually bigger than these wild pesky plants I have around here. ec

5/22/2006 11:31:00 PM  

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