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The Online Magazine FOR and ABOUT Southside Virginia







Oct '08 Contents

Oct '08 Cover


Main Street Southside
Danville's Downtown Renaissance
(First in a series)

We Spend Our Years As ...a Tale That is Told
By Gert Slabach

SoBo Harvest Fest Photos

-Special Section-
Celebrate Virginia Wine Month

VA Wine - A Legacy


Harvest Party
Hunting Creek Vineyards


Homemade Wine
The Lighter Side



South Winds
(Edgewater Buffington)

On The Funside
(Waiting for the good things in Rocky Mount)
By Amy Hanek

Born and Bred
(Blackberry Wine)
By Jean Hunter

Ask Bubba - Advice
Happy Bubba-Ween


Editor's Page
(We've been listening)

V & B Comics
(Verrnack & Blupirk Trick or Treat)

Festivals & Events

Past Issues

Past Issues are available from June 2008 through the current issue.
Select the desired issue from the drop-down box below.



"Born and Bred"

Homemade Blackberry Wine


By Jean Hunter

   I enjoyed reading Discover Southside, especially the article about blackberry picking by Gert Slabach. It reminded me of my childhood summers in Charlotte County. We raised strawberries and yes, we picked blackberries in late summer. Mother always made us wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and she would tie a string dipped in kerosene around our wrists and ankles to keep off the ticks and chiggers. (It worked most of the time).

   One summer my brother and I decided to make some blackberry wine. Now you have to remember this was in the late 1940�s and we didn�t have access to the Internet and I don�t think we bothered looking for a recipe in the World Book Encyclopedia. We just knew that it took blackberry juice and sugar and it was anybody�s guess what else, but we decided we could do it anyway.

   We picked a bucket of blackberries but couldn�t figure out how to get the juice out of them. Being a girl, I had helped Mother make jelly so I knew we had to cook them and strain them to get the juice and get rid of the seeds. That was a small problem because we didn�t have anything to cook them in and Mother was very strict about us playing with fire but I managed to sneak into the kitchen and �borrow� a pan and while I was there, I �borrowed� a bag of sugar and a Mason jar. Now we were ready to cook.

   We built a fire at the edge of the cornfield, added the berries and water in the pan and pretty soon we had �juice�, so we added the sugar and some other stuff we picked in the field, boiled it awhile longer and strained it through a piece of cheesecloth that I also managed to �borrow�. It was a pretty messy affair, we had a lot of purple stuff on our hands and clothes, but we were sure we had just made the perfect jar of blackberry wine.

   I thought we were through when my brother decided we had to �age� it, so we buried it in the cornfield for a few days. We waited three days and went back and dug it up. The jar was full of white stuff and it smelled awful but brother thought it was just right. We strained it through the cheesecloth again to get the white stuff out and we both took a sip. It wasn�t bad but our family was tee-totallers so we didn�t know what wine was suppose to taste like.

   Now the fun begins. WE KNEW A DRUNKARD!! That�s what everybody called Herman, the man who lived down the road from us. Every morning he walked up the road beside our house, and every afternoon he staggered down the road, hollering and cussing, to his house. (Mother always came outside to get us when she heard Herman hollering.) Brother and I waited for Herman one hot afternoon and right on schedule he came reeling down the road. Brother, being older, and a boy, approached him and offered to sell him a jar of homemade blackberry wine for a nickel. Just like that, he reached in his pocket and took out a nickel and Brother gave him the wine.

   The next morning Herman didn�t come walking up the road. Mother wondered where Herman was, since he walked up the road every morning.

   The next morning Herman didn�t come walking up the road. Brother and I were getting very nervous.

   Brother,� Wonder where Herman is,�

   Me, �Do you think he�s okay?�

   The NEXT morning Herman still didn�t come walking up the road.


   Brother, �Let�s go to his house and see if he is okay.�

   Me, �I�m not going to his house, what if he�s dead! What if our wine killed him!�

   Brother, �He�s not dead, at least I hope he�s not dead. Don�t tell anybody and they won�t know what we did.�

   Me. �I�m not telling anybody anything. Let�s just wait until tomorrow and maybe he will come walking up the road.�

   It was a very long day and we didn�t sleep well that night. Finally, morning came and HERMAN CAME WALKING UP THE ROAD. We waved, he waved back and he wasn�t dead. Our wine didn�t kill him, but it didn�t cure him either. That afternoon he came staggering down the road cussing and hollering and Mother came out of the house to get us. Thank goodness everything was back to normal.

   Jean Hunter

   P. S. Brother and I never made blackberry wine again and I forgot what we bought with our nickel.



Jean Hunter is a Lifelong resident of Southside Virginia, who currently lives in Halifax County.



  "Born & Bred" is a reader supplied column. If you have a true (even if slightly embellished) story about life in Southside Virginia, we want to hear from you. Send your story, or story idea, to editor@discoversouthside.com.




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