Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wild strawberries grow in abundance here. Their white blossoms are a welcome spring milestone. Our natives seem to prefer the fruit unripened as we seldom see a red wild strawberry. Turkeys are at the top of my likely to eat strawberries list. A solution is to grow cultivated berries under wire cages that are covered with plastic bird netting. The cultivated berries feed ants but there are enough undamaged berries left to provide us with fruit for breakfast.
When I was a village resident plotting my escape to a rural setting, winter reading filled much of my time. John Burroughs was my favorite author. His book "Pepacton" was the first volume that I purchased. The first essay in this book described his summer float down the East Branch of the Delaware River. Many of my summer hours were spent floating down sections of the Unadilla or Susquehanna Rivers. This seemed to form a connection between us. Burroughs wrote of being drawn up from the river and into a field by the aroma of ripe wild strawberries. His description of the pleasure of eating those berries with fat rich milk made a lasting impression in my mind.
Burroughs also described the thrill of silently floating toward two young ladies that had raised their skirts to wade about in the shallows. That of course is another story, and it has nothing to do with wild strawberries other than the close proximity that Burroughs described experiencing these two delights.
From a simple ripe wild strawberry I get not only a taste sensation, but a flood of memories of my time on the rivers, and a recollection of Burroughs' writing. That is quite a benefit from a simple berry. Wild strawberries taste much better than cultivated berries. Why have I never tried growing wild berries in the protection of the garden?