Friday, August 8, 2008

Advanced Tips for Using Huckleberry Pickers

Hi, again!

I promised a few additional tips, over and above the HUCKLEBERRY RAKE web site, on effective use of wild HUCKLEBERRY PICKERS!

Probably the biggest thing I noticed while out for an hour last Saturday in the Clark Fork area, was how the size and density of leaves on the huckleberry plant affected the raking action. When huckleberry bushes exhibited small, narrow leaves (for example, under an inch long), it was easy to gently slide the picker up through the berry producing portion of a fairly long branchlet, and slick out the berries without a hitch.

However, when the leaves were big and robust, in many cases 2-3 inches long and up to an inch wide, the picking rake would snag much more easily. It required you to take a much shorter section of huckleberry branch, in order to avoid damage, and reduce the number of leaves in the well of the huckleberry picker.

One thing I liked about using a picking rake, was greater utilization of smaller berries. When most of us are handpicking, we tend to go for the biggest berries, and avoid the patches of smaller huckleberries. However, with a rake, it's no more work to slide through a branch with lots of smaller berries (sometimes easier due to smaller leaves), than chasing the biggest berries,which are often just at tips of the branchlets. If genetics are a factor, the way we pickers key in on bigger huckleberries, the more seeds from smaller berries reach the topsoil, proportionately speaking. Raking evens the ratio a bit.

Later this week... will tell the story of my FIRST huckleberry picking experience near Sandpoint, Idaho in... 1976. Wow, 32 years ago! And my wife says I don't act a day over 15. Hmmm....


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