Pickin’ Choke Cherry Berries

Choke Cherry’s

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Choke cherry picking is one of the funnest kinds of berry picking! They fall off in clumps into your bucket when you pick like you are milking a cow. Near my friends house in northern Spokane, Washington my friend noticed some loaded ripe chokecherry bushes during a walk through the trees with her little dog, Skippy. She gave me a call and we met the next afternoon to get some. Choke cherry jam is super “ono” luscious!

Berry Pickin’ Friends

choke cherry picking
Linda P. choke cherry pickin

I am so happy to have a berry pickin’ friend, Linda, sorry about the branch in front of her face. My friend is very special to me because she is a true berry picking cohort. Who can you call and say, Hey, the berries are on over here do you want to go pick? I know her response will be, Sure!, if it is at all possible. Then we either meet at the trail head or drive together to the location and pick to our hearts content.

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There is no babysitting required between the two of us. We both love the outdoors, and peace & quiet of harvesting these delicious little fruits, even though there is rarely much peace and quiet as we cruise together and talk about all kinds of stuff.  A good friend that loves gardening, cooking, flowers and berry picking is really a treasure to any pirate soul like me.

Want to Get to Know Someone?

Go pick some berries with ’em. I remember the first time Linda and I went up in the mountains to pick huckleberries together. Not knowing her very well,  I assumed that she may not know what is needed, and boy was I wrong! Bringing an extra bucket with the basics that most people forget about, lunch for two, water, bug spray, TP, sunblock I found that was not even necessary. She surprised me at how prepared she was showing up with jeans, comfy shoes, and long sleeve light shirt with lunch, water, TP, small bucket (with bungie cord belt to hold it close at the waist), along with a hat and jacket. I have learned so very much about picking berries from this expert already.

Larry and Pete in garden
Larry and Pete in garden

Here are our better halves discussing important world events in our the garden. Linda and I are so lucky to have found the best husbands who also enjoy each others company.

I count my blessings every time Linda and I go for berries together. We get to see some of the best views in the mountains as we walk and talk, and when we get home we can exchange recipes for the best jellies, jams, and syrups that ever existed on the planet. We get together to do dinner and play cards together as often as possible. Thank God for the gift of wonderful friends to share our lives with.

Mountain hike

ski resorts are great places in the summer too

Mount Spokane State Park (Quoted from their website):

In addition to alpine winter recreation, the Park offers year-round recreation including nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, camping, horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, berry picking, sightseeing, and more.

You can get a map of the park

We drove up a gravel access road and parked, then went for a short and easy half day hike.

It is amazing to see the ski runs without snow on them. They seem a lot steeper in summer because you are actually walking up the hill not riding a lift, so the rate of ascent is more noticeable and sticks in the memory.

This hill has great views of the ski area and so much more. Gazing from the summit in summer can take your breath away.

There are many types of flora (including Huckleberries) and fauna birds, four legged critters and scurrying little guys, in lots of kinds of well-maintained trails. Inviting photographers to take mucho happy clicks home. The variety of trails, terrains and spots to see is quite extensive. Check out their website which gives 47 things to do in the park if you run out of ideas.

We discovered some historic structures while we were there including the Civilian Conservation Corps Cabin (CCC) which we posed beside, and it is not much further up the hill to see the Vista House both built in the 1930s. This park is another Inland Northwest “gem” for outdoor lovers.

Granite Falls, Nordman Idaho

We took an easy hike this weekend, our destination was “Granite Falls” just above Nordman, and Priest Lake ID. It was a bright sunny day but there was a noticeable chill in the air whenever you were in the shade. You can see there were still patches of snow… This was a total departure from blue screen hypnosis or chatter for us.

Nature in the Inland Northwest…. Ahhhhh! Going up just past Nordman ID and Priest Lake to a Cedar Forest Reserve is  Granite Falls trail. This is a short hike 1.5 miles on a well maintained trail with easy grade and many switchbacks through huge noble cedars reaching up high into the air. There are many places to experience the roar of water cascading over solid granite formation, where you are chilled by the moisture in the air. Wow! the power of moving water. Makes you see how small we are in the whole system of nature. This was a revealing adventure for our family to take together. It was as though our souls were able to surface and share more meaningful expressions of emotion and thought as we journeyed through the beauty. It was an inspired afternoon full of amazing natural wonder and an infusion of beauty.

Where we hangout…

Today speaking with a client, I was trying to explain my favorite place to feel closest to heaven.  It is almost as though God paints the scene different every single night. Some trees with tinly icicles on each needle, some delicately powdered with fluff on the top of each branch and then some totally encased in a frozen frosting. These thoughts led me to look at a folder of old shots up on the ski hill.

Probably my favorite thing is the way light shows through the trees almost as an invitation. Always a thrill and obviously a favorite of mine as I probably have 100+ shots similar to this in my reference photography. I have done paintings of this frequently…. this is one of my early oils.

Sun Thru Snowy Trees
That familiar sight as you ride a lift up the mountain anticipating a fun ride down.

The shadows are of my husband and I around 2001-02. This was an early morning right after a heavy snow that left the trees fully cloaked they looked like hunched over creatures in groups. I loved being on the ski patrol, getting up on the mountain for first tracks and watching the mountain transform from sleepy and dark to bright white. No better morning than that. On the hill the same location never looks the same.

Here is another early morning where I stood for 5-10 minutes in this spot taking shots so I could see how fast the colors changed.

Amazing isn’t it? Okay, so maybe I aspire to be a ski bum. My son gave me a sweat shirt with that on it. Yep.

Signed the Hawaiian  X-Ski Patroller

anticipation…

Just do it! LOL!!!IMG_20150430_092734530

I am walking more and more in preparation for doing Bloomsday this Sunday. Check it out here www.bloomsdayrun.org – My son and daughter ran it with me more than once and I sure miss them right now. They always had better times than me. Oh well, 7 miles and lots, did I say LOTS OF PEOPLE! In spite of age “ing” and health/healing issues. Am hoping to just enjoy the walk and make it to the finish line in good health.

It’s hard to fly like an eagle…surrounded by turkeys

turkeys out the windowWildlife Outside the Window

A whole flock of wild turkeys walking up the hill. I was working in the studio and looked out the window. Surprise!  One leads and the others follow exactly in the track of the one in front, they wrote the definition of the terms single file.

Rushing around getting the camera and sneaking the door open as quietly as I can, I start taking pictures. It is a trip to see so many wild turkeys walking in their little lines, one leads and the others follow.

turkeys outside walking in a line
turkeys 02

Have you ever heard that sing-along song….

The ants go marching one by one Hoorah, Hoorah
The ants go marching one by one Hoorah, Hoorah
The ants go marching one by one
the first one stops to suck his thumb
The ants go marching one by one Hoorah, Hoorah

The ants go marching two by two Hoorah, Hoorah

I think someone screwed up and put the wrong animal in there, which is obviously a mistake, as it seems much more appropriate for turkeys in the wild!

turkeys outside wildlife
turkeys 03

I am not really happy about this daily trek of the feathered clan in our area, because it means that my garden just got raided. When I go down there to pick today I will find tomatoes hanging on the vine that have been mysteriously cored and all the guts eaten out of them.All the low ripe tomatoes hang there innocent but empty inside. They like the seeds in the juicy insides.  Ripe berries at low levels will be gone, just magically missing when they were there only the afternoon before.

Guess what, my dog is just sitting outside on the deck watching them like, no problem, hi guys. He is a great guard dog, NOT!

turkeys outside walking
turkeys 04

It is at times like this that I remember unimportant information like, Thomas Jefferson wanted the turkey for the national bird didn’t he? Oh, now I got to Google that. Curiosity of the creative mind in action. Check this answer out…

Flying with Turkeys or Eagles?

What an interesting story, I didn’t remember learning all of that in school. Where ever we grow up and what is being taught at that time there greatly affects our education.

outside turkeys going into trees
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turkeys walking outside
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I’m not sure how many turkeys are there walking up the side of our property, but it was more than a dozen. Couldn’t get the camera before they were already heading up the hill so there were probably a lot more than shown in these shots.
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Wild turkeys on parade, it really must be getting close to Thanksgiving huh?