earlier in the week, fern, leo and i went to lake merced, in search of chokecherries. i have a romantic notion to make syrup out of them and they do supposedly grow in the bay area, near streams and bodies of water. we traipsed around, passing an elderly gentleman who was dragging along a suitcase on wheels and taking a walk with a cat. “come on mac. come on. jump up on the bench now. it’s dinner time.” the man and the cat sat down on a bench as we passed by, and the man then procured from his suitcase a bowl of kitty kibble. smiling, i said, “i think you just made our day”.
following a sweet scent, we left the paved path and a ways into the brush we found pearly everlasting…the pacific west’s version of echinacia. i plan on going back in the next few days to pick some. but i was still obsessed with finding chokecherries before fern’s window of good humor began to close. i heard a hawk cry, piercing the sky in front of us and thought it was as good a sign as any, so we walked towards it. following the shriek it let out every few moments we found blackberries, which fern crammed into her face despite their being tart. finally, we stopped beneath the tree where the hawk sat…and lo and behold…chokecherries.
5 chokecherries, to be exact. just enough for the mice to make jam. so we left them. and instead, picked these…
remember this post?
it was my unsuccessful venture to find hottentot figs. what i didn’t know is that while the sea fig flowers in spring (primarily, but also all year) the fruit is not fully developed until the fall. what i also didn’t realize until after i picked the ones shown above is that the fruit is ripe when most of the body is rusty colored. still, i made my first attempt at sweet and sour fig syrup.
as a forager and a gardener, the melancholy of the end of summer is tempered a bit by the activity of seed saving. i have just begun to save a few here and there…heirloom beans, red poppy seeds, spinach, chard, peas. one of the pearly everlasting flowers i brought home dried out and shattered its seeds in fluff piles all around it…so i saved those too.
are you honoring all your hard labor this weekend? time to rest our squirrely selves, before the final dash to prepare for winter. even though we often think of ourselves out of touch with natural cycles, do you ever notice the fevered pitch that starts up in september and october before winding down in november? we still store up our nuts and seeds, literally and metaphorically. oooo…and speaking of which…it’s acorn season soon. can’t wait!
have a great weekend!