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Raspberries are so delicious, arent they?
My raspberry patch is a large one and produces abundantly. Well, most years, anyway. There was one year in which we got none.
As in ZERO. An almost miraculous feat, considering how heavily they usually produce. (Did I emphasize the word abundant enough?)
And it all came about because of a radical raspberry recommendation.
The saga begins in early spring. Early spring is the time to cane your raspberries. Raspberries are biennial plants. This means in effect that they grow one year, produce fruit in the second year, and then die back. Meanwhile, they sucker (produce new plants on sucker shoots growing on the roots of the originals) so that every year, a healthy patch contains both actively fruiting plants, and yearling plants which will themselves sucker and produce fruit the following year.
Every spring, then, there is a mass of last years fruiting stock which are now dead, and need to be removed, or caned, growing intertwined with the present years producing plants. Caning, while not strictly necessary, is desirable because of the dead canes dry bristles and thorns. Any unsuspecting harvester trying to pick the fruit is scratched unmercifully; often the scratches turn into nasty red welts. It is therefore worth your while to cane in spring.
Here is the catch - the caning process is not my favourite job, also due to these thorns. Some of the old canes come out peacefully, but many put up a protest, making the task all the more difficult. So when we got our radical raspberry recommendation, we decided to give it a try.
My husband had done some business with a snaggle-toothed trucker (his words, not mine) and had received a fascinating tidbit of information that went something like this - if you did it early enough in the season, you could actually light your raspberry patch on fire. The fire would consume the dry dead canes and leave the fresh green ones intact to produce berries uninhibited by the snarl of undergrowth.
In theory, an interesting prospect. In practice, I could anticipate some issues.
My husband was willing to try. I was reluctant, but if it meant I didnt have to jump into the nasty scratchy bushes, who was I to complain too rigorously?
One fine spring day, he lit the patch. Several times.
And nothing happened. The patch refused to light at all.
Convinced that it was fate, I proceeded to head to the house. Behind me, there was a tremendous whump noise, and I turned in time to see wicked flames in an eight-foot high wall, obliterating the entire raspberry patch completely. This was no crackling, merry wiener-roast fire. This was a fiery inferno of death and doom like no other I had ever seen. It threw an incredible amount of heat. It positively roared.
And then, as quickly as it had started, it was over.
And so was my raspberry patch.
To give the trucker some credit, it did effectively remove the old canes. But it also took the present years growth. And with them, the entire seasons fruit potential.
We never ate a single raspberry all summer.
Have you heeded the advice of any snaggle-toothed truckers in your life?
We are so quick to offer advice. ("Your baby looks like he could use some solid food - my baby did at that age." "You should try _ product - did wonders for my brother-in-law." "That chiropractor in town is no good - you should try so and so instead.")
And those are in the most part fairly innocuous. Then there are the radical raspberry recommendations. These are all the more radical because they are so sly and insidious. They are often not even spoken aloud - they are rather insinuated, hinted at in the media.
"If you drink our product, you will join this talented, youthful, beautiful group of people and truly belong for the first time in your life."
"When you smooth this cream onto your face, your wrinkles will disappear and you will get the life youve always dreamed of."
"Tired of feeling guilt over your lifestyle? Join us - we all do what you are doing, too. You can drown your guilt by being one of us."
"Tired of watching everyone else live the good life? Invest with us. Buy our lottery tickets. Buy our book on how to triple your income overnight... "
Blah, blah, blah.
If you dont evaluate the source, you just might go up in flames. And they wont be the crackling, wiener-roast kind.
They will be the fiery inferno of death and doom.
Jesus dared to claim, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6 NIIV) He boldly sets Himself as the ultimate standard for what is true, right, good, authentic, satisfying. This means that anything else that claims otherwise is not true, right, good, authentic, satisfying.
Whoa. What a lot of radical raspberry recommendations are running around out there...
Dont get burned. Engage your mind and critically evaluate the messages that come your way.
You wont want to sacrifice an entire lifetime of yummy fruit for bad advice.