The serviceberry bushes are beautiful in the spring, especially along the Clearwater River. The trees bloom white and seem to bring an ethereal glow to the landscape. We see quite a lot of serviceberry along the Clearwater corridor and on the Gilbert Grade as well. I even thought I saw it here at the farm. Trouble is – I recognize it at a distance and only when it’s in bloom. So – my quest has been to find serviceberry on the property.
We identified a stand of Black Hawthorn trees on the lane and then a shrub we called “bearberry.” I don’t remember our reasoning on the bearberry, but the more I read about bearberries, the less secure I was in that identification. I mean, this is not an arctic area and the berries were purple, not red. You know – just little clues like that. Nevertheless, we kept calling them bearberries.
Saturday morning Nellie and I went down the lane to pick the bearberries. Nellie is an eager berry picker, and she liked these berries, standing ever so close to me so as to pick up any I happened to drop. She eats them noisily – licking her lips and smacking.
So, I had a little serviceberry fest. First Nellie and I visited another serviceberry bush I knew about, behind the house where the elderberry bushes are, but sitting at the edge of the field in the hot sun, those berries were already dry not to mention almost inaccessible. I had enough berries to make juice anyway. And then, to state the afternoon’s activity in simple terms, I made serviceberry jelly – five jars, sealed and ready to store on a shelf. Another new/old flavor to savor.
I’ll bet we can find more serviceberry here, and in fact, we’ve already found a bush on Dobson Road. Serviceberries are also called juneberries. Next year I’ll watch for them sooner – beginning around the Fourth of July.
And speaking of berries – aren’t those thimbleberry bushes over there?
Now is the time to be careful when exploring, though. On my way to the composter last evening, I came across a rattlesnake. My approach startled it and it raised its head but didn’t coil. I ran to the house for Mike, but in the seconds I was gone, it disappeared into the tall grass. KW