Monday, July 21, 2008
Saskatoon Berry Treat
...Amelanchier, shadbush, serviceberry, sarvisberry, juneberry, Saskatoon berry, shadblow, shadwood, sugarplum, and wild-plum...
Call it what you will, but we have one growing in our backyard. A few years ago a friend gave me a small sprout from her large bush and we planted it in the back corner of our lot. It grew quickly and my husband, who is a force to be reckoned with when he has a chain saw, decided to prune it rather drastically. The little bush responded by putting out fifteen shoots to replace the five that were cut and sprouted twice as high as the fence.
This year has been wet and the bush was covered in white blooms which have now produced a bumper crop of berries. In the past I have made pies and jam when the blueberry-like fruit ripened to a dark purple, but this year the other residents of our garden have been feasting on the unripe red berries.
A family of robins have been regular visitors. The young birds are as large as the adults. but Mom and Dad still pick the berries and put them right into Junior's mouth. The babies have been trying to pick their own but are still rather clumsy on the thin branches.
A couple of chipmunks pick their fill and run along the fence with bulging cheeks. The birds scold and dive-bomb them as they scurry to the relative safety of the deck to eat their meal. Cedar Waxwings, Cardinals and squirrels also visit and the berries are almost completely gone. My raspberry patch grows along the fence and the first crop is beginning to ripen. But these red gems are next on the list for the birds who enjoy the fruit of my labour.
The September raspberries are usually bigger and sweeter than July's, so I will not fight for my share at this time. The weather has been a little too hot, humid, rainy and mosquito-y for the trails so the backyard birds and animals will be my guests and amusement for now.