Author Topic: Berries on the fence  (Read 8418 times)

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delabela

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2013, 11:55:43 PM »
I think you're fine.  To be nice, I might offer the neighbors a homemade treat made out of the berries. 

CakeEater

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 12:00:04 AM »
In my area in Australia, you have a right to prune anything that grows over your fence, but it needs to be given back to the owner of the tree. Given that tradition, I'd feel not right about eating the berries, and would wait until my neighbour offered me the right to pick the berries.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2013, 12:34:34 AM »
I was outside last week picking more berries.  My neighbour called through the fence and said
"Hi, the berries are good for eating.  Feel free to enjoy them."
I brushed it off as awkward phrasing, but it sounded an awful lot like he was giving me permission to pick the berries that are on my side of the fence.   I had to keep brushing it off every time I went out to pick the berries, but I was determined not to read too much into it. 

I would have interpreted this as "if you would enjoy these berries, feel free to take whatever you can reach from your yard [even if you're reaching through/over the fence]!  We've got a lot!"  Sounds like a friendly gesture to me.  (Not that I'd go tromping around their yard and help myself, of course!)

In a general sense, though, I think overhanging plants fall into one of those categories where it's polite to ask but rude to refuse when asked, rather like "May I please use your bathroom?" and "Could I borrow a Kleenex, please?"

sweetonsno

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2013, 12:59:57 AM »

I'm not sure this applies, as I am not in the UK and this is not a tree.

In any case, I was wondering more about the etiquette surrounding the issue.  If this were something like an apple or a pear tree, I wouldn't consider overhanging fruit to belong to me.  It would only be mine, in my opinion if it fell from the tree into my yard.  I'd definitely go over and ask to share the fruit from the branches that hung in my yard.

Should one, as a matter of politeness ask their neighbours permission to keep fruit that grows through the fence and onto their property?  Should I offer them some of my jams or preserves?  Take over a pie or some muffins?

Also, any ideas on what else I can do with blackberries that doesn't involve an abundance of sugar?

I see most harvestable plants the same way. They belong to the person who planted and cares for them. I wouldn't be comfortable picking apples off someone else's tree, clipping dahlias that were leaning onto my property, or snapping up berries that happened to be poking through the fence. I think plants that grow wild are fair game (so long as you aren't trespassing onto private property to get to them, of course), but I would always ask before altering someone else's plant.

I think it would be very nice to take over a pie and/or some preserves. Going forward, just give the neighbor a call/knock on the door when the berries start showing and ask them if it's okay if you pick and eat the ones growing on your side of the fence. (I completely agree with Slartibartfast that asking is mostly a formality and show of respect. They absolutely should give permission.)

You can make blackberries into a yummy savory sauce without too much difficulty. (There are many directions you can go with this. I especially like blackberry puree with balsamic vinegar in a dressing. Maple syrup or brown sugar is good if it needs a touch more sweetness.)

Shea

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2013, 08:24:56 AM »

I'm not sure this applies, as I am not in the UK and this is not a tree.

In any case, I was wondering more about the etiquette surrounding the issue.  If this were something like an apple or a pear tree, I wouldn't consider overhanging fruit to belong to me.  It would only be mine, in my opinion if it fell from the tree into my yard.  I'd definitely go over and ask to share the fruit from the branches that hung in my yard.

Should one, as a matter of politeness ask their neighbours permission to keep fruit that grows through the fence and onto their property?  Should I offer them some of my jams or preserves?  Take over a pie or some muffins?

Also, any ideas on what else I can do with blackberries that doesn't involve an abundance of sugar?

My mind is blown by the idea of anyone deliberately planting blackberries. Where I grew up, blackberries are everywhere growing wild and trying to take over the entire landscape. People are forever fighting a mostly losing battle to keep the brambles from taking over their entire properties, Audrey II-style. But I digress.

Anyway, I think you're in the clear using the berries that grow on your side. I would personally probably ask the neighbours and certainly bring them a jar of jam or something made with the berries, but I don't think it would be impolite not to do so. Just extra-credit polite ;).

As for using the berries, do you like oatmeal? I love putting blackberries in my oatmeal. You can put them right on top fresh, or toss a handful of frozen ones in while the oatmeal is cooking. Either way it's very tasty.


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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2013, 09:41:33 AM »
Wash them, let them dry on a towel then spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them.  Once they are frozen, bag them up into the sizes you'd find useful.

Add the frozen berries to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or snack on them.

I make a fruit crisp that would work well with the blackberries, I think.  Using a 8' to 9" round pan, line the bottom of the pan with a layer of apples.  Toss the blackberries with some flour and put them on top of the apples.  Then put another layer of apples on the top.  The crisp topping is 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger.  Adjust the spices to the fruit you use.  I use more cinnamon with straight apples, more ginger with peaches, for example.  Bake at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes, 40 minutes if using thawed fruit rather than fresh.

So the only sugar you are adding is the 1/2 cup in the topping.  Unless, of course, you are serving the crisp warm over ice cream.

The reason I use the apples with berries and rhubarb is that they help hold it together for serving and to support the topping.

As for your fruit tree example, I would consider the fruit hanging on my side that I can reach easily to be fair game.  I would ask first, to be polite, but if it is in my yard?  It's mine.

Can you see if your neighbours are picking all the blackberries on their own side?  If they are, they probably don't really want anything else made with blackberries.  I would reciprocate some other way.  If you make any other flavour of jam, you could take one of those over.  Or some other baking that doesn't contain blackberries.  It isn't necessary but it would be the neighbourly thing to do.
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sunnygirl

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2013, 10:05:08 AM »
I think you're fine, as the neighbour doesn't seem to mind.

I noticed the other day the blackberries are getting ripe here already - I should go out blackberrying before too long. :)

menley

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2013, 10:13:59 AM »
I don't think you did anything wrong - however, if it were me, I would have asked my neighbor if he minded if I picked the berries that grew on my side of the fence, before doing so. I don't think it's required, exactly, but just one of those little niceties that makes for good neighbor relationships.

squeakers

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2013, 10:27:18 AM »
I'd say check your local laws as to whether you are allowed to pick anything.  Some places you even have to check to see if you are allowed to pick up fallen fruit.

I'd apologize to the neighbor if it turns out you shouldn't be picking the berries and hope they say "Oh, don't worry about it and by the way we do/don't spray the crops."
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Curious Cat

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2013, 10:32:05 AM »
I'd say check your local laws as to whether you are allowed to pick anything.  Some places you even have to check to see if you are allowed to pick up fallen fruit.

I'd apologize to the neighbor if it turns out you shouldn't be picking the berries and hope they say "Oh, don't worry about it and by the way we do/don't spray the crops."

Why should she apologize to the neighbor? He already said it was ok to pick them.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2013, 10:41:47 AM »
I would never pick the fruit of a neighbor's plant without asking them first. I grew up in an agricultural community in the Southern US and it was a well known assumption that the fruit grown on your neighbors tree was his fruit. I did a quick internet search and found a few sites that indicated that is still the case in a few areas.

We had berry vines that grew along our ranches fence and even then, people who wanted to pick berries from the road would still come and ask for our permission because the vines were on our side of the fence.

It sounds like you were a little offended the neighbor gave you "permission" to gather the fruit on your side of the fence. If the nieghbor is from an area like where I grew up, they did it as a friendly gesture.


Lynn2000

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2013, 10:47:09 AM »
I think you're fine with what you've been doing, especially because the neighbor has now explicitly given you permission, and before that there seemed to be a tacit agreement. But, I think it's good to know that there are other ways to see the situation--say your neighbors on the other side planted raspberries and you were in the exact same situation, but these neighbors were a bit put out that you didn't ask them before picking the berries--I don't think that would be unreasonable of them.

To me it's like, "Okay, the thing you planted is now coming into my yard. What should we do about this?" Without getting into legal stuff, it seems reasonable to me that you have the "right" to do something about the thing in your yard, but since it originates somewhere else, it is also reasonable to me to consult with the other person involved. And, I think the discussion works both ways--if I see that something of mine is poking into someone else's yard, I should start that conversation with them to see how they feel about it.

In your case, it seems like both parties had an unspoken agreement that you could have the berries on your side of the fence--it's possible they've been secretly resentful of it for years, but then again they've never done anything about it, like say anything to you or trim their bush, so I would've assumed they were cool with it.

In a counter-example, I personally don't actually like blackberries (weird, I know) and in my area they can become very invasive and a nuisance. So my first thought would be to chop off the branches that were coming into my yard. But, I know that cutting off part of a plant can sometimes affect how the rest of the plant grows, so I would go to the neighbors and say, "Hey, this thing is getting into my yard. Shall I chop off the parts on my property, or do you guys want to trim it yourselves/train the brambles to grow differently/etc.?" Hopefully we would be able to come to an agreement about it. But, I wouldn't feel right just cutting the branches without mentioning it to them first, especially if it was genuinely hard for them to see that it had become overgrown on my side.

So in summary, I don't think you did anything wrong, but I don't think the neighbor or your visitors were weird to say what they did. I think you guys were just operating under different assumptions, and fortunately they all came to the same conclusion (that it's okay for you to have the berries). But, I don't think their different assumptions are unreasonable.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2013, 10:48:10 AM »
This OT but it relates:

My city has a volunteer program that you can sign up for if you have fruit trees/vines on your property that you don't (completely) harvest.

A group of volunteers will come to your home, harvest all of the fruit and divide it in three portions.  One portion goes to the homeowner, one portion goes to the volunteers and the third portion goes to the food bank.  I think it is a win/win/win for everyone.  The homeowner gets their tree(s) cleaned up and avoids a huge yard mess from the fallen fruit, the volunteers get 'paid' for their time and the food bank gets to distribute fresh produce they wouldn't otherwise be able to provide.
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Knitterly

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2013, 10:49:39 AM »
I'd say check your local laws as to whether you are allowed to pick anything.  Some places you even have to check to see if you are allowed to pick up fallen fruit.

I'd apologize to the neighbor if it turns out you shouldn't be picking the berries and hope they say "Oh, don't worry about it and by the way we do/don't spray the crops."

Why should she apologize to the neighbor? He already said it was ok to pick them.

I know 100% for sure it's okay for me to have the berries because yes, the neighbour did say I could.  But I didn't ask, and that's where I wondered if I'd been rude up to the point where he offered.

As for spraying the crops, I live in an area where it is illegal to use any sort of chemical weedkillers or pesticides in the garden or on your lawn. So these are clean, pesticide and herbicide free berries, which makes them even more awesome. 

Maybe I'll take over some muffins this afternoon.  I am planning on whipping up a big batch.  :)

A few people seem concerned about this, so I will mention this quickly, and will edit my original post to reflect this:  There is no local bylaw prohibiting me from enjoying the fruit that grows through the fence.  Technically, there is one prohibiting my neighbours from planting where they did so the fruit encroaches on my property.  I have no intention of complaining, though, as I enjoy the fruit.

squeakers

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Re: Berries on the fence
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2013, 10:52:55 AM »
I'd say check your local laws as to whether you are allowed to pick anything.  Some places you even have to check to see if you are allowed to pick up fallen fruit.

I'd apologize to the neighbor if it turns out you shouldn't be picking the berries and hope they say "Oh, don't worry about it and by the way we do/don't spray the crops."

Why should she apologize to the neighbor? He already said it was ok to pick them.

I would apologize for presuming and "stealing" if it turned out the fruit was legally his.  A simple "I'm sorry, I did not realize these berries that are on my property actually belonged to you.  Thank you for allowing me to pick them."

And if it turns out the berries can be legally picked.. then no apology would be needed.

OP posted and said it was fine to pick the berries.  She may have to let the neighbor know that info as well because he doesn't seem to know that particular bylaw.  It could be worked casually into a conversation about gardening.
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