Monday, September 08, 2008

A little bit out there...that was refreshing!

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous days that make you, make that need ... to get outside. Sunny sky, a breeze, temperatures that aren't like a blast furnace, and the vegetation at the very brink of toppling into fall made it an incredible adventure.

A few days earlier, Maryanne found herself at our bayberry source and picked about a quart. We figured we could go pick some more because we use it in the holiday bayberry soap that we only make at this time of year. In the same general direction is a park where I'll be setting up for a book signing next Saturday afternoon, and had offered to include a weedwalk. Always good to check that stuff out first ;-) . And I'm glad we did, because we may need to revise the plan a bit since it is more of a landscaped area than I thought - and WAY too much poison ivy back on the paths to be going off the path.

As we headed out the driveway, I looked at my sister and it struck me that it had been at least a year since we'd done anything together that we didn't *need* to do for some reason or another. Yesterday was just a fun ramble. Sure, both of our destinations were necessary, but not like our usual (lately) somewhat driven pace. Taking care of a desperately ill person is hard all the way around, but now he's quite a bit better. So we had a day.

As we left the park we noticed a stand of small trees that the birds were just fluttering around. They were having such a ball that the trees seemed almost to be in motion themselves. We pulled over to check it out and found 2 varieties of Silkie Dogwood with the most beautifully shaded blue berries.

Almost at the end of the drive we found these Winterberries. It took my sister and her husband quite a while to identify with field guides and computer because these just aren't that commonly used around here in landscaping - and don't occur too much as natives.

Next we went to the bayberry "secret site". Heh heh. Ours aren't quite producing yet, so for now our source is a secret location. We each filled a quart freezer bag. We boiled off a lot of the wax last night and will probably do the rest today. It will most likely result in less than a pound. Not a lot, but so worth it. I'll add a pic of the wax later.
As we sat looking through the fieldguides, I found a picture of hazelnut pods and exclaimed how cool they were. Yeah, yeah... I hear you asking, "what the heck was she doing in the nut tree section of the field guide when she was supposed to be looking at berries?" and I'll just say that this is all supposed to be FUN!
So it was pretty funny when Bob said, "I have 50 of those trees - just babies - out in the little nursery outside and today I SAW those things today. Come on, I'll show you."Life here can be so good.


Regina said...


These pictures are fantastic!! ...and now you have me curious, how do you get the wax from bayberries?


Tina Sams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tina Sams said...

That post ^^^ definitely needed a good edit, but I couldn't figure out how to do it.

Anyhow, the berries are boiled in water and the wax comes to the surface. It is then allowed to cool and harden. At that point it is easily lifted from the surface of the water.

Regina said...

Thanks so much Tina for responding!

I bet the aroma is wonderful while the solution is warm!


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