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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Foraging for Bow: Cherries and Service Berries

Admittedly, our cherry crop was very small this year. We used to get bowls and bowls full of cherries. This year, only two. Not bowls --  cherries, one of which I gave to Bow.

Bow ate the cherry very slowly.

When he was done with it, he gave me the pit back, even though I did not have another cherry to give him. This is what the cherry looked like when it was still on the tree.

It had rained that morning, so the cherry was wet, a drop of rain was still hanging off of it.

The yucca plant was also dripping with rainwater when I went to look at it by day.

I noticed that there were many insects gathered on the flowering yucca plant, even the black garden ants that used to work on the peony before it bloomed.

It is good to have alternate sources of food and not just depend on a single plant to feed you. That's why I am still pondering what is going on with the Monarch butterfly. Whatever possessed it to become dependent on a single kind of plant -- milkweed -- and if it needs the milkweed to survive, why does it not help with its propagation?

Every day I check to see what insects are pollinating the milkweed. I see Great Spangled Fritillary Butterflies and I see Skipper butterflies.

A Skipper and a friend on the Purple Milkweed

I see honey bees and Great Spangled Fritiallary Butterlies trading places on the purple milkweed blossoms.

But I see no Monarch  butterflies helping out. And yet this plant is so important to their very existence! What is up with that? It's like the Irish during the potato blight. Who depends on a single type of crop for his very existence?

Not Bow and me. We know that if the cherry crop is bad, the service berries that planted themselves on our land might actually be more plentiful and equally nutritious.

I picked some this morning and gave Bow to sample. (We don't have a Hebrew word for service berry yet. I suppose I will have to invent one.)

Bow liked the service berries just fine, but they are small.

However, down by the orchard, against the fence line, there is a service berry tree whose berries are still green and measure as large as cherries. I know not to count my chickens before they hatch, but that may turn out to be a very good deal, considering that I never planted them, watered them or did anything to help them grow! Bow and I are as sinfully idle as the Monarch, but a little more opportunistic in our eating habits.


  1. I remember that year when you had all the cherries growing on your trees. I was quite envious. The service berries look good, and I wonder if you could turn these into a syrup.

    1. It was very nice having all those cherries at the time, but if I've learned anything from living here all these years, it's that things change all the time. You can't count on any particular fruit or berry to be there, just because it was there the year before, But there are so many other alternatives! We will try eating the service berries raw first. If there is a surplus, we may try to preserve them.