Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Huckleberries, Fireweed and Monkshood

School starts for me in 10 days, so work, work work to be ready. Monday I spent the day at school working on things to get ready for it and I also wrote several articles for the newspapers I write for. Tuesday and today the huckleberries were calling me. This is the first time in four years that we have had an abundance of them and I need to get enough incase we have another bad four years.
Yesterday I picked from 7 until 3 and got three gallons of them. My sister, Carmen (only one of seven that I have - that will be another blog), and her two friends joined me today. I could only pick until noon because of school work. I got two gallons while the three of them stayed most of the day and picked 7 1/2 gallons. Here Carmen starts picking before dropping her pack and extra bucket in a good patch of huckleberries.
Yesterday after my back could not take any more bending over, I did some hiking and got some photos of some flowers. These Columbia Monkshoods have a story to tell. I imagine them as horses. This first picture kept reminding me of the song that says, "Back to back, belly to belly, it really doesn't matter to me." Some of you old duffers may remember it.
These three look as if they are in a horse race and one wins by a length.
This picture reminds me of an old fat horse that the owner cannot bear to send him to a glue factory. I was amazed at the different colors in the monkshood flowers along a small marshy area high in the mountains of the Heise area.

My last picture is that of Fireweed. I love the fireweed because they come out late in the summer and brighten up many old logging roads in the Targhee National Forest or can be found along many streams of the area.

I hope to get another five gallons of huckleberries. There are a few folks that cannot pick them anymore because of age, sickness or injuries. They need some, plus it is making my belly smaller and also keeps my girls canning.
By the way, today I shared my berry patch with a family of ruffed grouse. No pictures - just a memorable experience. Mom kept trying to keep the youn'uns away from me.


Veronica Wald said...

How do you preserve the berries, or do you eat 'em all right away? ;-)

Jann said...

Now if you would kindly pass along your address, and when's the best time to show up for huckleberry pie...I'll be right over! We have the monkshood and fireweed in SD too. I haven't seen the monkshood, though. It was scarce last year, and I haven't been in the areas it grows this year. Very nice pics!

Bill S. said...


We freeze most of them or we make raspberry/huckleberry freezer jam out of them. The frozen ones we use for smoothies, Huckleberry cheese cake, put them in pancakes or use them on cottage cheese for a wonderful side dish. My wife does not make pies, but I have sisters that makes huckleberry pies. My wife's huckleberry cheese cake is to die for - it is the very best.

When you are near West Yellowstone or Rexbure - give us a call and we will have a couple of quarts for you. I got another two gallon today.

mountain.mama said...

Those flowers are so beautiful! I love fireweed too. The first time I ever saw any was in Alaska and the tundra was filled with miles and miles of it.

And, yes, let me know when the huckleberry pie is ready. I'll bring the ice cream!