Thursday, July 25, 2019

To the Berry Farm

We went to the berry farm
          As other people do,
To pick the ripe blueberries
          And also eat a few,
To see the berries green and blue
          Covered with the morning dew.

We just finished using the blueberries from 2017 – baked in blueberry muffins and blueberry cake and used in pancakes. Now the supply that was picked in 2018 (at least 17 quarts are in the freezer) will diminish with each passing week. So, as this year’s crop of blueberries ripens it was time to take bucket in hand and get to picking.

Years ago we visited timber sales that had been cut a couple of years earlier to pick early low blueberries, the sweetest blueberries of all. But those plants seldom get to be a foot tall and aging backs and knees can’t tolerate enough bending over to glean a year’s worth of fruit.
Some wetlands on the Allegheny Plateau have significant quantities of one of several species of highbush blueberries so we’ve picked there as well. One such wetland we visited a number of years ago had so many piles of bear dung that it must have been a major feeding site for black bears when the berries were ripe.

In recent years we’ve picked blueberries at a nearby berry farm where a few hours of picking yields a year’s supply of the delicious fruit. The farm grows strawberries, which our daughter picks for us (those aging backs and knees you know), as well as raspberries and blackberries. But, for me, it’s the blueberries that are the real attraction.

Row upon row of blueberries stretch across the fields –
From Google Earth

We try to arrive early, before the heat of the day, when the fruit is still dew-covered –

And pluck the ripe berries from among the still green fruit that will ripen over the next few days –

As we were leaving the berry farm we ran into an old friend who’d been picking since 6:00 am and had five gallons of blueberries – that’s a man who loves blueberries.

We’d not been there that long and had but four gallons (16 quarts) in one large and two small pails –

Love those blueberries –

Thursday, July 18, 2019

National Moth Week - 2019

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since the last National Moth Week, but time flies when you’re having fun – and spending time in the natural world sure is fun. One of my fun things is capturing and photographing moths.

Some moths are active during daylight and can be found and photographed then, but to really see the variety and beauty of moths it’s best to turn on an outside light at night. The vast majority of moths are active only at night and many are easily attracted by artificial lights.

National Moth Week begins on Saturday, that’s an excellent excuse to turn on the porch light and occasionally step outside to see which moths have been drawn to the light. I catch them in old pill bottles, put them in the refrigerator overnight and photograph them in the morning. Here’s a selection of moths from the lights on our house –

Wherever there are plants there are moths: city, town, country and wilderness. If you leave the porch light on they will come.