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The first of summer’s fruits are about on schedule for early July bucketing and baking, canning and freezing.

Anything a garden berry can do and more, wild berries can too, including growing new plants from the seeds embedded inside the tiny fruit-lets.

Little used mulberries are finishing, but black raspberries are being picked regularly in southern Wisconsin. Other treats will follow including red raspberries and blackberries.

Known too as blackcaps, these earliest raspberries have oodles of uses, but one of the primary resolves is encouraging gatherers out into the brambles in spite of continued black flies and other bothersome insects.

There are ways to contend with bothersome bugs, prickly canes, and container carrying. Menthol works wonders on many insects for most people, without annoying after odors.

Raspberries have biennial canes with fruits mostly forming the second year’s brambles, but the new first-year canes are overtopping those hanging heavy with fruit. The point being many berries, even entire patches, are missed when camouflaged by new, taller growth.

There’s nothing wrong or illegal about hiking a trail and eating a morning treat instead of gathering.

While picking, with ice cream buckets hanging from belts or bib straps, allowing both hands to work the canes, idle minds work wonders on word plays for fruit names. Blackcaps are black berries, but not blackberries they say, or blackcaps are green when they’re red, and ready when they’re black.

Idle minds never shillyshally.

Many fish activities have fizzled some, but catfish are fine and getting better. Trout are a bit more reduced and some perch, walleyes and bluegills are hitting the pan. Illinois anglers continue to come here.

Many of the cattle depredation claims are coyotes, but surely others are to blame, too.

Yellow coneflowers, sand coreopsis, and compass plants continue to color prairies with autumn-like yellows.

Deer road kills have lessened some, while raccoons and rabbits continue to provide carrion for fledged eaglets and a skunk family now and then.

Locally heavy rains, in addition to knocking berries from canes, have caused rain ruts that will hamper outdoors users through to deer seasons.

The 2018 Warden of the Year came from the La Crosse-based Mississippi River Warden Team, headed by Tyler Strelow. Dale Hochhausen, a native of Cassville, who has been on the force 21 years, was presented the Haskell Noyes Efficiency Award by members of the Noyes family at June ceremony in La Crosse.

Since the award was initiated in 1930, members of the Noyes family presented a gold pocket watch to the Warden of the Year.

Wisconsin’s outdoors continues to provide ample gathering opportunities this month, as well as preparation reminders for upcoming seasons in September and beyond.

Nuts, wildlife, and mushrooms are maturing, with some already showing hints of the coming season.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at sivadjam@mhtc.net or 608-924-1112.

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