Monday, March 2, 2009

Quill Pens and Berry Ink



I could not believe it when I came across this illustration of two little girls making ink from berries. This is just what I did when I was seven years old.
At this time Mother, Daddy and I lived on the very top of a hill in West Virginia. Ours was the only home on top that hill. Alone on our hill, I had no other children to play with. I loved to explore and listen to the sounds of the birds.

When I wasn't in my favorite spot watching the birds from a hammock between two big trees in back of our house, I spent some of my time searching for ‘ink’ berries growing on the hillside. I would slide down the hill, wade through thickets and bushes collecting berries, then squeeze them until the juice ran out, producing ‘ink’! Feathers from the birds were always easy to find. I would use them as quills, dipping them into the ink. Then I would write my secret messages! What fun!

Just looking at the illustration above, I could definately say that I was the little girl on the right. I usually wore rolled up jeans and sported scratches and bruises from fighting my way through thickets...and I was usually dusty and dirty from digging potatoes and gathering eggs from the hen house and a little purpley from squeezing ink berries. Perhaps the little 'princess' on the left was my imaginary friend to whom I wrote secret messages with my quill pens and berry ink.

9 comments:

ClassyChassy said...

My friends and I used to try to make the ink too. We would also make 'perfume' out of daisies and violets that we crushed and mixed with a little water! It smelled great for a short while, but after a day in a bottle, it really stunk bad!!! We had plans for selling it, but you know now how that went!

YayaOrchid said...

What a sweet post! I can see you cavorting through the thickets and playing with your imaginary friend! Have a great week!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Hi Deborah!
You are so sweet to pay a visit. I love the art work on your recent post. I will also visit your friend from Across the Pond as well! I am at work but I thought I would get back to you for being so kind to check out my latest post. Have a peaceful day, Anita

Gary and Elizabeth~ said...

Hi Deborah,

I love the picture of the little girls making ink. I came by to say Hi, and to drop you a note.
Have a wonderful day and I will be back soon to visit.
Elizabeth

Craig Miyamoto said...

I feel deprived. We never had any berries around where I lived. No little girls making ink either! However, I did make quill pens from feathers I'd find in the yards.

jeanne said...

Deborah, I love the print and your story is wonderful. You were so smart to make ink. I never would have thought of such a thing. I have faced briars and thorns to pick blackberries many times in my life. Once I came home with my arms and legs scratched I was bleeding. My uncle told me to wear his old shirt and long pants but I was to vain. I sure paid the price. LOL. Love your post today.

Love...Jeanne

Moonlight Hollow Musings said...

Deborah: Moonlight Hollow is having a great giveaway and would love for you to participate! Just check the blog for details!

Thanks!

Malisa

Mary said...

Aaah! this is a lovely story Deborah. Life in the countryside is hard to beat.

Sorry you didn't make it Sat., it was so wet I just thought you decided to stay home where it was warm and dry. Vanessa didn't show either. she leaves for Italy Thur. but I doubt I'll get to see her. We'll plan something when she returns and she can tell us all about it!

Consumed by the chairs still - but getting there gradually. Tomorrow I'll show a preview as many people are getting anxious. Today I took Tylenol for Arthritis - perhaps that will ease my aching shoulders as I return, right now, to paint cans and brushes!

Have fun with Leah and the boys in Roanoke - say hi from me.

Love, Mary.

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