Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Buffalo Berries Discovered

Not having the 75 dollars to pay for school pictures, I promised the kids that I would do a photo shoot of them at a later date. Later came a couple Sundays ago. The kids are thrilled with the results and may never go back to school pictures again. That's okay with me since school pictures rarely catch the personality of the child.
The natural girly head tilt of our four year old is so.... her. She is always running on her tip toes with her hands close to her sides in that impractical feminine way. Heels and frills describes our girly girl.

The, I will conquer the world  tilt of our seven-year-old's chin tells you who she is.
The photogenic smile of our nine year old stamps in time her diverse development.
The oldest, just two months from turning twelve, has definite tastes, is confident in who she is, and it show.  

I discovered a wonderful thing as we looked for photo backgrounds on Clear Creek, yu...m, Buffalo Berries! Unpicked buffalo berries and they were just starting to dry out. Since this is the main walking path next to the town park, I have to guess that no one picks them. It could be the thorns which do make gathering the sweet berries a bit of a pain. My guess though is that few people know what these berries are or how yummy they taste. We have become a grocery store dependent society. Few make jelly and jam and fewer yet do so from wild berries, unsure of whether the berries are poisonous or not. That makes these Buffalo Berries an unclaimed treasures. I'm keeping this in mind since this year I've no time to pick.

 Kirk took a handful of berries and shared with the kids. They were not sure what to think. Unsure since, they had refused to take more than a small berry or two. We could not convince them to taste a good size mouthful. Somehow the explosion of flavor is much sweeter. One or two berries seem a bit tart. Since it is late in the year and after a few light frosts, the berries would be sweeter. The getting could not be better. Frost does the same thing with apples. The trick is light frost not the usual killing frost which is often our first one. This fall is exceptionally warm. 

The trees are familiar to me since I picked Buffalo Berries when I was a kid with my step-dad. They made one of his favorite jellies. The trees in his area were scarce since it is farming country but on the back roads you could still find a few.
With Buffalo Berries there is a boy tree and a girl tree. The boy tree fertilizes the blossoms of the girls tree and she in turn produces the berries.

One of the reasons I wanted to move back to this part of Wyoming is because of the drastic increase in edible wild vegetation. I noticed when the long blonde haired survival guy who had a television program came to do a show in Wyoming he traveled hurriedly over the grassy plains to the mountains. If the expert could not find much, I certainly can not. I did not in the 33 years we lived there. Wild game is plentiful and that is probably why we became such meat eaters. I'd like to change that.

Since we've moved back to my husband's roots, I'm discovering where the edible plants are once more. I'm discovering edible things I never knew about before. Kirk's dad, before he died, said he was almost positive that the trees that grow in abundance by us are Hawthorne. Of course not on our property. Neither are the wild plums or the chokecherries. We may have to do something about that. But at least wild edibles are nearby.

Now after my first real taste of buffalo berries, my mind is a buzz with ideas beyond jelly because of my recent chokecherry research. A buffalo berry pie would really be yummy. I had never thought about fruit leather. Why not? I've made lots of the stuff when my kids were young, just not with buffalo berries. Definitely on my to try list.

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