Sunday, August 2, 2020


      Picking gooseberries the other day reminded me of my Dad. In Far Sides  last post she mentioned picking chokecherries and that brought back a lot of memories.

      My Dad was a fanatic about a few things. One thing he was nuts about was picking berries.

     Now let me set this up. I was a kid through the 1940's . Where I lived only about 50% if the land had been developed. So there was much native habitat left. Where I lived at Esk, Sask there was much brush but not many trees. Berries made up much of the shrubbery. One of the main berries was something called Saskatoons, Amelanchier alnifolia. There are many other names for this shrub.

     Now saskatoon berries were my Dad's favorite. He loved to get a groups of friends and neighbors together and go for a day of berry picking. People would bring sandwiches, cakes, cookies and sealers of tea. At some time they would stop for a picnic lunch.

     Now my Dad picked berries like there was no tomorrow. There had to be lots of berries around him. So Dad was constantly on the move and you would hear, "There's lots of berries over here." He was great for getting back in the car and going to another berry patch.

    Now I was a little guy and because slave labor was in force I had to pick berries. I hated it. I would ask Dad if I'd picked enough to stop. He would say,"No, pick until your pail is this full." I would pick some more and go crying back to Dad to see if  could quit. Finally ,I'd give up and just pick berries. 

    So we'd get home around 4 or 5 oclock and poor old  Mom would have to sort and clean the berries. Most of the berries were canned. One year she canned 98 quarts. Pies are excellent but you have to use fresh berries.

    Now my Dad had four daughter in laws. He insisted that they go picking berries with him. They all went with him at least once. Now my Dad had very little tact and sometimes none. He would look in the daughter in law's pails and loudly proclaim who had picked the most. He was a poor influence as he did not get one daughter in law to pick berries.

    Dad  was not only a berry picking fanatic but he was a fanatic about fishing. You heard the same cry, "There's more over here!" 

    Sadly most of that land has been developed and there's very little natural habitat left. Saskatoons have been domesticated and they are raised in your garden .