Sunday, February 15, 2009

Berry Nice Thoughts

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thirteen degrees here on the mountain and a bit warmer than I had expected. The sky is overcast and there are clouds matching the outline of Peacham Pond. It's always odd to note the seasonal influence the pond, all 360 acres of it, has on the area. You might not think a body of water, frozen solid and held firm by winter, would be an influence but it holds temperature differently than the surrounding mountains and is enjoyable to watch.

The balance of the inhabitants here on Peacham Pond Road are having a snoring competition this morning. Karl the Wonder Dog is in second place and the other two are moving in and out of first. We went to bed late last night and apparently the deep REM sleep has just kicked in for the trio.

Alex found a DVD set of H.P. Lovecraft oriented horror films at Borders the other day. They are tame enough for Gail and I to watch. Actually they are about a newspaper writer/quasi investigator and they are quite entertaining from the perspective of a 1970's production. The part I like is each one is only 45 minutes long so I am not committed for too long. We have watched one a night for three nights (17 to go) and Alex is happy for the participation and we are happy to see him smiling. People on the autism spectrum have an remarkable set of interests, sometimes difficult to comprehend, sometimes compulsive in repetition. In this case we have struck a balance for everyone. Hopefully his growing interest in daylilies will follow the same direction.

So I am sitting here this morning thinking about making some pancakes and thoughts of fruit have turned to berries. Some gardeners are absolutely firm about their garden design and the thought of fruit or vegetables integrated with flowers just doesn't make it with them. That's fine but to me the integration adds a spot of interest. It may be that when I grew up in Vermont after WWII, there was a not-so-fine depression going on and any food was good food. By the late sixties there was a strong resurgence here in the "Have More Plan" concept of 1946 and in Burlington there was a neat store named Garden Way that promoted many of the grow-your-own, put-food-by lifestyles. Together, those thoughts helped build a gardening philosophy for me.

So as thoughts turn to what fruits to add to the morning pancakes, I'm encouraging you to think of what fruits or vegetables might fit nicely with your flower gardens and add some unadulterated produce from a known and trusted source to your table. We are big on blueberries here and have both the wild ones in adjacent fields and cultivated berries in the flower garden by the road. There are blackberries on the hillside by the house and wild blackberries and raspberries in the fields and along the woods roads. We compete with birds and bears for these fruits but there always seems to be enough for everyone.

Strawberries is a crop I cannot find time to plant-grow-harvest, plant-grow-harvest, but we sure go through a number of pounds here. In summer time the area CSA's and market growers have a good supply and it seems as if we know enough people who like to pick their own that baskets of berries show up unannounced. This summer a customer I never even saw before even shared a basket and a visit and made me pleased. Gardeners are like that.

I guess this morning I'm going to make a quick compote with blueberries and strawberries and add some apples to the pancakes. Should be a good mix and provide smiles at breakfast---
-----if the snoring competition comes to an end.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Karl the Wonder Dog wants to walk and the birds are looking for some sunflower seed.

Best wishes and good gardening thoughts on Sunday morning!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm


ENSAN said...

Hi George!I'm following your blogs ever since I came across your website just by mere accident! It's really fine and enjoyable!My desire to visit Vermont is highest since that time, you put a gorgeous frame around it's nature's beauty. Thank you from Saudi Arabia & regards to your family.

lynn'sgarden said...

Hi George, Lovely photos of the berries. We love going to the "Pick-your-own" blueberry farms when we visit New Hampshire. I've tried growing a few here but they don't come back well and the birds always beat the kids to them. Lots of wild black-berries around here though. Hope your pancakes were yummy!

Scott said...

The berries look great and reinforces my need to plant some blueberry bushes this year and expand my raspberry canes.

By chance, what is the name of the Lovecraftian horror set? I've read a lot of his work over the years and the idea of sitting down to some short films would be nice after a long day of planting.

George Africa said...

Hello Scott;
Remember The Night Stalker movie series starring a news reporter named Carl Kolchak who worked for INS--the Independent News Service? Nothing to do with gardens for sure but an interesting analogy with Lovecraftian writing and drama. Well maybe you could stretch the one named Spanish Moss _______.