I (and the family) have been spending a significant amount of time this year foraging for things to eat in mother nature - Maple Syrup, black raspberries, mulberries, asparagus, mushrooms and most recently blackberries. Luckily I have found a friend as a result of my foraging requests, that has allowed me to ramble around on his property looking for mother nature's edibles.
Last week however, I received a message from my friend telling me that he thought he saw me on the property the day before. The thing was, he didn't see me pull up or even see where I parked my car, so he pulled out his spyglass to check it out and saw a woman with long-hair instead.
He thought that was odd, so he got on his tractor and rode out there to see what was up. Apparently the woman parked in the nearby cemetary and walked across another piece of private property to get to his blackberries. She said "Oh is this your place?" and "Where do you live?" (You can SEE the house from the back of his field, and you could plainly see where he came from on the tractor, so she must have been playing dumb.)
What I found very odd was that, there is in NO WAY that she could have SEEN the berries, or even followed the berry patch across the other property, as there were NO berry plants back there. In other words she must have previously KNOWN about the patch and trespassed into his property to get to it! Ordinarily I wouldn't say anything, except my friend is nice and told her he supposed it was OK that she was there - since she was ALREADY there picking. (He's much too nice in my opinion, i would have said to get lost - He didn't want the berries to go to waste though!)
Several days later I was out there picking again when suddenly another car drove back to the patch (It's at the very back of the property). I mean com'mon, once you get caught, shouldn't you just STOP with the pilfering? The woman pulled up and said "Hi mind if i join you?" I asked if Steve knew (my "provider") and she said Yes (which he really didn't "know" she was there that day) so I begrudgingly said, "I guess not."
I mean REALLY, what would you say to that? "Yea, com'mon over and pick where I am picking since you have already trespassed and KNOW that this field was here." Or "My berries are your berries, i'll just pick less today..." My friend even mowed around the bushes for the kids and I to better pick, which was also evident, so it's not like she couldn't have guessed that SOMEONE was already picking the prepped field!
Now I'm a pretty aggressive person when it comes to sportsmanship - My husband will tell you out-right to stand back because when I get into competitive mode it's a scary thing to see... So image this woman pulling up in her white truck and asking me "Do you mind company?"
I immediately jump into the super-speed mode, mowing around the blackberry plants like some frenzied fool - Pplucking ALL of the ripest, juiciest berries of the bunch and leaving the undesirable shriveled ones... I even plucked some that could have used another day in the sun, I was so competitive!
I'm sure she though "some nut-job", but I didn't like that this woman, who for all purposes DID NOT GET permission BEFORE she started picking, was back for more... That being said, it isn't my property, so I shouldn't feel this sort of entitlement, but I at LEAST had permission to be there!
So what does one do when a competitor moves into the field? Throw a curve-ball, spit-ball or other nastiness? Do you jump into the juiciest berries and leave nothing behind? I'm sure if you were nearby that day you would have hear the giant sucking noise as I went into vacuum mode - I can't believe the number of berries I picked that day. I even came back MUCH more often than I may have otherwise, just to thwart the pilferer.
I'd feel ashamed to admit this I suppose...
A few days ago I was chatting with a good friend about this encounter and mentioned the woman's name. My girlfriend said "Wait what was the name?" I told her again and she sounded rather puzzled. She asked again where my friend Steve lived, then asked about they type of car the woman drove, "Was it a white trailblazer?" "Oh I dunno, it was a white truck!"
My friend told me that her mother-in-law has been known to pick MANY berries, and in fact had a freezer filled with something liek 400 cups - YES 400 CUPS of berries!!! AND that was the general vacinity of where her mother-in-law MAY have been picking. My friend just couldn't understand why the woman introduced herself the way she had. A few days later, she asked her mother-in-law later if she had been "caught" (Although she is BY FAR much more PC than I!) and after a 30 minute conversation had her Mother-in-law admit that YES it was HER!
So my pilferer, the woman who trespassed and then played dumb, was none other than a very good friends mother-in-law!!! I laughed my butt off... What gets me though is that this woman felt there was nothing wrong with what she did in trespassing onto someone's property. Which brings me back to my original questions:
So what does one do when a competitor moves into the field? When another "forager" shows up what is the proper etticate? I know from shroom hunting that you simply don't walk into the area of the other 'shroom hunter, but in this case we were on PRIVATE PROPERTY! What should I, or could I have said?
Sometimes life just comes full-circle doesn't it?