I would like to share the story about berry picking in the white/purple berried Mulberry tree in the back yard at the Meyer farm. It's branches at various times held our tire swing, our board swing and our horse swing; and our childhood fun. It grew up over the sidewalk to shade Grandpa's pink rose bush next to the gate that stood left at the outer drip line of the mulberry tree..
Even though it was the perfect size for easy climbing like an apple or maple tree I didn't manage all that well, until Steve made and nailed in some boards along the trunk to make a ladder base. Once up to the branches it was a good go for me. Everyone knew I had issues when I got too high like a cat in a tree and that is another story for another time, about my fear of heights.
When young, we always had boundary rules, which we followed because the limits were set for our safety. The farmers took no chances. If it was a fence to keep things out or children in, it was a good tall sturdy fence, even if it was a wire fence. It did it's job.
As any captive prisoner will tell you, the first rule is to escape. Fences means the good greener pasture is on the other side.
One way to get over the fence we soon, or I should say Steve discovered was to climb the mulberry tree and let yourself down the branches like a squirrel. And he shared the secret passage with his big sister. But I was not as nimble as he, and I took less chances than he. Also, I didn't see that much over the fence to draw me out to take the risk.
I often fancied myself secretly hidden in the tree, but a mulberry tree is not really that dense. So you might say, I was content in my ahh hidden perch. My imagination ran wild. I could keep track of the outer limits, I could hear those conversations of the new arrivals exiting from the cars or those who were leaving. I called down my farewells, etc. I could try to hide from my mother with out success. You know, the usual stuff a kid does in a tree.In summer there was a reward for the climb, the mulberries. If you were afraid to climb really high, You could only get those in your short reach, after that you were out of luck.. You also had to hold your pail and hang on at the same time, unless a experienced picker like mom showed you to tie your pail to the branch. [And it would put her in the mind for a story.]
I'd say the tree lasted a good long time in my childhood. I am not sure why mom wanted the tree gone, but to her the tree was as she said "achhhhaacckkk." I think Steve knew first and told me the reason, but I have forgotten. I think it hit me hard. I the last prisoner behind the fence, who maybe had more of an attachment, but then aren't girls sentimental about everything. Natural Hoarders of a good thing.
Steve told me it was going. So early in the mulberry season we decided to get the berries before the birds. We talked about our little problem of losing the tree. I think Steve came up with the idea of making a mulberry crisp from our berries. We could do this picking ourselves and have the crisp made to prove how good the tree was. So we picked by hooks and crooks, and ladders and blankets below, we got what we could. Mom was good, she offered help and suggestions and afterwards followed along with it and made us a crisp.
It really was lovely of her to try two ways to bring it to our accustomed taste of a crisp that is a little tart..The mulberries were bland and overly sweet. She didn't make much use of lemons or apple sauce to have it on hand. She didn't think of using nutmeg, and cloves, but she might have used cinamonn. She tried at such short notice to use something that could have drowned out the flavor or enhanced it. It might have been apples and some raspberries that had been picked [Maybe strawberries might have been good with it, but not in a cooked state.] In fact I can barely remember what she put it with. It smelled good and we ate it down pretty fast. We tasted, and judged, while we waited for the verdict from the others.
We were the proud providers of dessert, but we honestly had admitted to each other that we were a little disappointed in the end product. It was not anything that we would work so hard for again. But we were proud of our unique idea of making Mulberry crisp. Enough so, that I often want to browse the Internet, as I did today, just to see what combinations others have to share. Maybe there is a good way to prepare mulberries in a pie or crisp and we just haven't heard of it yet.
We wanted so badly for those mulberry desserts to be a hit, cause it might have saved the tree. I tried many a tactic, including trying to get dad on my side, but mom said to me outright to give it up, it was going, and that was that. Said that way; it was that. A Sure thing as a done deal. The final word and answer had been given. And the mulberry tree came down. We ate all the fresh mulberries that were still left on the tree. No more Mulberry crisp for us.
Okay we lost our tree, but I think the mulberries crisp taste failure seemed to help cushion the blow somehow. That and the fact that Steve and especially me were given a little more freedom. I was allowed out of the yard more and had other fences to cross. [ Wink ! ]
Source of photo:
Mulberry Pie and Crisp recipes :
Most of these recipes use oatmeal, which I would use, but that is not what Sylvia used in a Crisp. http://www.suite101.com/content/mulberry-pie-a248268 http://foodgazi.blogspot.com/2010/06/ohio-city-mulberry-crisp. html http://simplesavvy.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/foraging-mulberry-crisp/#comment-1574