Monday, October 4, 2010
Fall in the rocky mountains brings cool crisp air, bright blue skies, changes in the leaves, and harvest time. The freezer is full of corn and peaches, the cellar is loaded with tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, and jams. A quick jaunt to the mountains with Jonathan and Isabel over Labor Day let us know that the chokecherries were on.
For us, chokecherries are a family affair. Each has a job, some scout the trees, others climb, hold grocery bags or pick. Faces press to windows in amazment as cars speed by. Some stop and ask us what in the world we are doing. I feel better when we move higher up the mountain where the berries are smaller but there are no cars.
Chokecherries seem to grow best on steep embankments covered with stinging nettle, briers, and stickers. So, it is a sacrifice for all of us. I wonder if our neighbors (who will be lucky enough to try some of our jam or syrup) will realize the drops of blood that were spilled for each and every jar.
The harvest is good this year. This is the best harvest we've ever had. Entrepreneurial Ladybug wants to sell jars door to door. However, Briz is violently protective of his product. I don't think she could sell them for a price he feels is worthy for his prized jams. I know we all love the taste, but I really think the draw is that each year as we harvest, we all feel a connection to our ancestors. We are mighty, ingenious, and frugal hunter-gatherers.