My mother lives in Moyie Springs, Idaho. Good luck even finding on a map. She and her husband actually live “out of town,” which, when we’re using Moyie Springs as our reference point, is an extremely rural situation. They’re likely the only inhabitants of the mountain, other than the elk, deer, mountain lion, Whiskey Jacks, ground squirrels, tanagers, Pileated Woodpeckers, etc…. you get the picture.
Anyway, she found a choice huckleberry spot. Huckleberries, for any sad individual who hasn’t experienced them, are shaped like a blueberry and twenty times more flavorful. They are rich wine purple all the way through, whereas blueberries have blue skin and white insides.
Mom knows I love huckleberries. When we were kids and hungry most of the time, August was a month when satisfying our hunger was merely a matter of walking into the woods. Wild strawberries, huckleberries, black caps, thimbleberries, dewberries…. A kid could eat herself sick. I spent most of the month of August with purple fingers and lips and tongue.
Mom ran a tight household. In the morning she would hand a large container to each kid and tell us it had to be full to the top in order to get breakfast. We would get fed one at a time, as we arrived home with our berries jugs full. Being the oldest, my brother Eli and I were often required to pick a gallon of huckleberries each before breakfast. In exchange for one glass gallon mayonnaise jar full of berries, Mom would feed me pancakes. And THEN, we were pretty much allowed to eat from the forest anything we wanted for the rest of the day.
I developed a mighty love for huckleberries that has not dimmed. Mom outdid herself this week when she filled a tupperware container of berries, taped it tightly closed, wrapped it in plastic, sealed it in cardboard, and mailed it to me!! Yesterday we ate three day old huckleberries over vanilla ice cream for dinner. Oh man, it was DEE LISH! They stayed remarkably firm in the mail and smelled incredibly fresh and are so tasty tasty.
I went up to the Uncles’ place today in Scappoose. Larry sent me out to pick blueberries because they always have too many. I picked many, ate many, tossed a lot to the chickens as well. I ended up with 1 1/2 gallons of blueberries. Before I could finish though, Larry insisted I must pick the Marionberries as well. So, I finished up the blueberries, and he and I picked about two quarts of Marionberries. They’re like a blackberry – yum yum yum.
I packed berries into the fridge this evening and realized, there is no way out of the situation into which I have put myself. Two quarts of huckleberries, two quarts of marionberries, a gallon and half of blueberries. In circumstances like these, I realize the decision is out of my hands: I must make pies.
Pies and pies and pies. I have no choice. What else can I do?? Lucky for us, we’ve got the vanilla ice cream at the ready.
Now, don’t you wish you were my next door neighbor?