Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Morning Thanks--An Easter raspberry army

We were warned, but my wife's love of raspberries is unrelenting--if we were to have a garden (and in this new house of ours we've got a whole sunny acre), we were going to raise raspberries. We were destined to have a patch, destined as in foreordained. I like 'em, but she'd trade her husband in for a flat and never look back.

So two years ago, we grabbed some cuttings from friends whose patch is legendary. "All you got to do is stick these things in the ground and get out of the way," they said, or something to that effect. Sure, we said. Husbandmen, we weren't, really rookie raspberry-ers. 

We stuck 'em in and watched. And watched. And watched. At least they didn't die. But flourish? Hardly. It wasn't a miserable year because we were told not to expect a thing. "They've got to get established, but in a couple of years they'll be coming out of your ears."

Rank me with those disciples of little faith.

Last year we went back to the raspberry champions when they told us they'd just culled that world-famous patch in their backyard. We took four more healthy cuttings, a root ball on every plant, stuck them in the ground with last year's sorry offerings, and waited. And waited. And waited. 

Like I said, maybe a dozen berries--that's it. Not enough for a handful. 

"Just wait," our friends said. Pardon my lack of faith.

Just so happens they dropped by yesterday, on one of the most beautiful Easter afternoons in human history. We took them out back to have a look at Easter in the garden. What's back there right now is a scramble of scratchy little patches of new growth on otherwise buzzardly-bald ground. Honestly, to call it a garden right now is to profane the very word.

But on easter, to me at least it was perfectly beautful.

And you know where this is going.

"Check our raspberries," I said, and tugged them out to the patch. I'd been out there on Saturday. Things were popping. "Look at this," I said proudly, as if they were my own brood. Last year's growth were dressed for St. Patrick's Day. "They're really going to town," I told them in the same voice I might have bragged about the grandkids.

"Look at that," they said, pointing at a couple dozen guysers stopped in time but busting out all over, a gang of new growth pushing through the grass clippings, a virtual raspberry army I'd never seen.

Took my breath away.

Did you know that as we speak raspberry researchers are beginning to formulate an assertion arrived at by years of study that raspberries (I'm not making this up!) can control obesity. It's a fact, not just something my wife might say. 
Scientists now know that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (also called raspberry ketone). By increasing enzyme activity, oxygen consumption, and heat production in certain types of fat cells, raspberry phytonutrients like rheosmin may be able to decrease risk of obesity as well as risk of fatty liver.
I could not have written those sentences if paid or pained. Or this.
New research in this area has shown that the anti-cancer benefits of raspberries may extend beyond their basic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects. Phytonutrients in raspberries may also be able to change the signals that are sent to potential or existing cancer cells. In the case of existing cancer cells, phytonutrients like ellagitannins in raspberries may be able to decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that encourage the cancer cells to being a cycle of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the case of potentially but not yet cancerous cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to trigger signals that encourage the non-cancerous cells to remain non-cancerous.
And we got 'em in our backyard. Wahoo, do we got 'em! Just saw 'em yesterday, they're busting out all over, dozens of new shoots--there and there and there and there.

What a glorious Easter afternoon.

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