Berry Picking

One of the nice things I’m finding with this house we just bought (literally got the keys September 3, 2014), is that there are a TON of berries in our backyard. Of course, this means that it’s pretty much a wild backyard, and when our son grows up, it will be hard for him to go outside and kick a soccer ball around or even throw a ball for the dog.

But right now, I am enjoying the plethora of berries. Since we moved back to Alaska at such an unfortunate time, when the leaves are falling off the trees and the short summer is already at its demise, all I tend to see is the death of summer and the quickly approaching harsh winter. Every day for the past week or so, since I discovered the mass of high-bush cranberries we now own, I have packed up my son in the baby backpack and headed out of doors for at least 30 minutes to pick berries. Or until my back starts to hurt or said son begins to cry.

High-bush Cranberries, some I missed!

High-bush Cranberries, some I missed!

To be honest, I’ve never really done a whole lot with high-bush cranberries, and I have no idea what to do with them now. All I know is that I washed, sorted, and destemmed about four cups of them yesterday in about four hours. (Thanks to my son for that one, too.) But that’s okay. Berries freeze. Because really, what all this berry picking amounts to, is the fact that I may have to wait until next year to get enough to do anything with them. Or enlist help before it frosts over.

Although, after the first frost, that means low-bush cranberries are ripe. And, even though the leaves have fallen, making them harder to find, these lingonberries are well worth the effort. My mother has a killer cranberry cream cheese bread recipe, and it calls for a whole lot of lingonberries. So, if you can’t find me for the next couple of weeks, that either means I’m out picking berries, or in the kitchen canning/baking/cooking with berries, or I’ve been snowed in (but let us hope for one of the two former options–I’m casting my vote for a late, short winter this year).

Lingonberries are the deeper red berries, almost a merlot color, in the forefront of this photo. I can’t remember what the other, oranger kind are, except that they are poisonous.

Lingonberries, almost ripe for the picking!

Lingonberries, almost ripe for the picking!

But it’s not just cranberries that I’m in a picking frenzy over! The original owners of this house planted about five or six chokecherry trees around the property, and I’m delighted! I grew up with a chokecherry tree in my backyard about fifteen miles away from where the house we purchased, and it’s delightful to be reminded of watching that chokecherry tree grow into the beast it now is (and my “new” little chokecherries have nothing on that behemoth of a tree).

These ones were out of reach, or I would have snatched them too.

These ones were out of reach, or I would have snatched them too.

Although it's a bit late to be picking chokecherries (I think), the original owners of this house planted about five chokecherry trees, much to my berry-picking pleasure!

Although it’s a bit late to be picking chokecherries (I think), the original owners of this house planted about five chokecherry trees, much to my berry-picking pleasure!

And since I’ve distracted myself long enough from washing and destemming berries or otherwise being productive, that’s it for today. At least until the mountain comes out and I manage to get a photo. (And I’m really bumming over the fact that I left my camera downstairs when a golden eagle flew by my window while writing this post.)

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2 thoughts on “Berry Picking

  1. Pingback: PFD Day in Alaska | Denali In My Backyard

  2. Pingback: Ten Ways Writing a Novel is Like Berry Picking | The Written Word Remains...

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