Hello and welcome to the blog today. Life is a bowl of cherries… and mulberries, too! Recently a friend of mine (as well as Dad’s) invited me over to her acreage where one can find a mulberry bush and a cherry tree. Oh, the fruits of spring / summer!
There is a lot of online discussion about the “mulberry bush” and whether or not it is actually a tree. I’ve seen references to both – especially the classic children’s rhyme – but most of us actually pick the fruit from trees. Younger mulberry plants start life as multi-stemmed shrubs but as they grow and mature, the older ones generally have a single trunk. I gathered about two cups of the wonderful dark berries on Wednesday.
The colorful cherry tree is pictured to the left. I tried a few and they were a bit tart… but delicious! The cherries were ripening and rotting faster than they were being harvested… so I picked a quart for later. The ripest cherries were eaten right then and there. What a heavenly treat! I’ve contemplated putting them in a pie but then figured rather than destroying their nutritional appeal by adding all that sugar, a few with a dollop of whipped topping would be healthier… or pehaps putting them in a no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream smoothie?
After gathering berries, I paused to stop at Echo Hill church just north of Cedar Rapids. Dad was a member of that group for many years. The Communications Director was kind enough to let me use their large field to do some drone flying… It was possible to gather some spectacular shots and I emailed the best one. Michael said the picture will be used for their Facebook page or church newsletter.
I almost lost the drone – the newest and cleanest of the three. With a fairly calm wind, it was possible to run it to 150+ feet. Lots of video was recorded however I started losing battery power and the Syma X5C-1 plummeted through chest-high weeds, becoming deeply tangled. I said a quick prayer and used the remote control to jiggle the rotor blades enough to make a sound in order to locate the drone in the thick weeds. I would have never found it otherwise. Of all the drone pics to date, this shot of the church is my favorite.
While traipsing through the weeds, I spotted some dainty little flowers that begged to be photographed. More about that later after I research them…
Jesse didn’t go along on this trip so there wasn’t much planning involved. I just wandered here and there, opting to camp near the Cedar River at a favorite campground near the town of Urbana. The solar panel / house battery system provided free electricity all night and kept the camping expenses lower.
On this trip I didn’t feel up to grilling or doing anything too fancy. Work had worn me out the preceding five days. While driving and contemplating what to eat for supper, I saw that Cedar Rapids had just gotten a new burger restaurant called “Freddy’s Steakburgers”. It’s one of those places where they utterly smash the hamburgers and fry them to a crisp. The food was tasty and there was no work. Now and then NOT cooking is a nice thing.
Breakfast this morning? Well, it was a tiny can of beans and a bottle of water, the “Breakfast of Champions”. Yikes, that slogan brought back an image of the cereal box from the 70s and the Olympian who was on it back then…. I’d better not go there though. 😀
Here is a pic of those gorgeous flowers. It took a while to identify this pretty plant in the prairie by Dad’s church. There was another, similar flower that was red in color. It turns out it is a “Dianthus barbatus” also known as “Sweet William”. This flower is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It’s so striking to see. Colors can range from white, pink, red, purple, and even variegated patterns as shown here. According to Wikipedia, this flower was listed in a 1596 catalog by famous botanist John Gerard.
It’s fun being out in nature. For now, it’s back to work and thinking about the next journey. I’m wanting to visit some butterfly gardens, a pick-your-own raspberry patch, a corn maze, and other fun stuff this year. There should be plenty of things to do in between working. As I told the boss the other day (when everyone was a little stressed), I’m the happiest guy on the planet 16 hours a day at home … and then go to work at a job I love for the other 8. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Have a terrific rest of the week and thanks for riding along! One last picture… On the plate are mulberries and strawberries for dessert. The croissant had chicken salad with pecans and fresh cherries. Though his didn’t have any cherries, kitty Jesse is now a big fan of chicken salad.
Safe and happy travels always. If you get out this way, send me an email.
Brad and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa