Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America

Step, step, march, march, in and out, up and down.  I am trying very heard to sew in the tiniest of stitches………all across one side of the handkerchief.  Mother says my stitches are still too large.  So I am pretending my needle is taking fairy steps across the fabric.  If I prick my finger, a tiny drop of red appears on the white fabric and the bigger girls wag their heads at me. Now Mother will have to soak the cloth in cold water to take the red out.  Brent and Josh are tired of waiting for me. I hope they are outside picking berries.  That is what I want to do.

Father is home today.  He is helping the farmer with the livestock.  If he would come in for just a moment, I know he would see me and IF I looked up with a sad face; he would say, “Mary, I need you outside……………..”  I hear his footsteps in the hallway.  It happened!!  I am outside!!  I went around the corner of the barn to the brambles to pick some blackcaps.  They grow wild there.  Josh and Brent must be gone because even I cannot see them.  The biggest berries seem to always grow in the middle of the dead canes.  I only want to pick enough to eat right now.  I stretch and reach inside the branches.

One of the higher canes caught my cap and tugged it off and another cane is tangled in my hair. I took a step forward and a branch jumped up and scratched my leg.  But my hair is still caught.  I leaned first to one side and then the other and found that my apron is now snagged.  I shall bend backwards.  My cap fell down but
I cannot reach it and my hair is still being pulled.  I called for Josh and Brent.  They were not too far away
because they came quickly.  Josh said “Let me assess the problem.”  He seems to be more patient than Brent.
Brent wanted to crash right through the bushes and pull my hair free.  I could feel the wind begin to blow just as Josh reached in to free first my hair and then my apron.  I was able to pick enough berries to fill one hand and they were so good.

Josh told me about a pie his mother would make.  I wonder if Mother would make one.

1  1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1  1/2 cup blackcaps
1 baked pastry shell
whipped cream

Mix sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together until thick.
Fold in 1 cup of blackcaps – chill

Top with whipped cream and remaining blackcaps.

by Mary Beekman

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Cody, Mother told me that wild black berries are

sometimes called black caps. Josh said his mother has

heard them referred to as black raspberries also. I think

calling them black caps is best because they caught my


charlie in las vegas

i love your show and really enjoyed the book. i'm going to order the soap and cheese on your site. can't wait till next season and maybe another book! keep up the great work and best wishes!


my late mother grew up during the depression, but since they had fertile farmland in the yadkin valley of the appalachian foothills, they had a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy, & meat. extra pocket money came from the little extras they would sell. my grandma mcneil's butter had a waiting list among the ladies "in town", which she sold once a week along with fresh eggs from her busy flock of hens. they were one of the first families in our little corner of wilkes county to own an automobile, a used ford pick-up, in which they would make the hour long journey to north wilkesboro, about 10 miles away over bumpy winding roads. my mom's favorite treat was her mom's homemade cottage cheese made from cow's milk which they sliced & enjoyed with tomatoes, peaches, or whatever goodies were in season. mama (along with her 4 sisters) picked blackberries which the girls would sell so that they could buy store-bought "unmentionables" for the school year. i love the memories my mama shared with us about that era. every time i see or read about blackberries i can see my mother & aunts as laughing little girls, dressed in over-alls picking bucket after bucket of big juicy blackberries, & wonder what percentage actually made it into those buckets. be well, fair lads!

ellen in nc


When I was Mary's age, my grandmother would let me pick bugs off the potatos plants and alot of the times I picked off the Lady Bugs on their farm in Milford, NY. I learned however that if I reached down into the soil and felt around I could come up with a little red potato! Once I found one I would run back to the house rinse it off, put salt on it and eat it raw!

That was the best tasting potato ever!

I didn't get to go picking berries as I would eat them right from the bucket and have none left!

Gloria Walker

I just watched Martha Stewart with the Beekman Boys. I searched their website and I must plan a trip to visit the farm first hand!

I have sent my recommendstion to ALL of my friens, Gloria in Beautiful Southern California


Oooooo! What a great way to start the day! We have these fruits on our farm too, in Newport, NY. Although I am a Chef, I've never worked with them or knew what they were called, so thanks!

Barb Francis

Just finished reading your book The Buccolic Plague and wondered how everything was going. It appears from the comments and website that things are looking up;) I am going to try this receipe and will be in touch. Thanks for such a good read – the journey was fun.