Yesterday I went to Skunk Hollow, a rural area of northern Indiana County, Pennsylvania where my brother lives. It’s an Amish area, since the early 40s according to my late Gram, who said she was there when they bought the first farm in the area.
I was there to pick elderberries, but arrived late. I met my brother for lunch in Indiana, then made a detour to Marion Center to take wildflowers to my mom.I picked Queen Anne’s lace along the highway and found wild mustard along a road in town as well as one lone daisy. I debated the wild mustard, because when I used to pick wildflowers to take to my grandmother’s grave, Mom always told me that Grandma was allergic to wild mustard. Mom seemed to like it though. I kept two wild mustard in and just as I was reaching the cemetery I spotted a patch of phlox on the edge of the woods. I asked the caretaker, who was mowing, if he minded my picking a few and he said he didn’t. So here was my bouquet:
I dead-headed the geraniums that were growing in front of Mom and Grandma Hazel‘s shared grave and put the bouquet in the Stargate-styled vase we had made for Mom. The plug to keep the water in has since disappeared, so it takes a little finagling with a baggie to actually hold water these days.
I sat in the grass and talked at the stones for awhile until I received a text from my niece that she was going to meet me at my brother’s to visit me while I picked elderberries.
If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that the living take precedence over the dead. And this would be a triple visit. My niece would be bringing along her daughter, Adeline and carrying my next grand-niece or nephew, due in December.
I managed to fill my 5-gallon Steeler’s bucket, but I don’t have much time before I leave for Orange County next week, and elderberries are much more time consuming to prepare than other berries, so I stopped at that.
Baxter played with my brother’s 3 labrador retrievers, Casey, Lovey and Lilly. He got his butt handed to him by their cat, Reba for trying to eat her food, and I got a beautiful day with Brianna and Adeline.
At home we made plans for a trip to Coshocton today, to look at neighborhoods and houses. Kurt’s nickname is “Frugal Druzgal” and he earns it by staying hardcore under his per diem rate for most jobs. It often, but not always, is in opposition to my own desire for location above all else. When I want to get to know a new town, I want to live downtown, in the heart of what’s historic and be within walking distance of rivers or canals or old shops.
Who knows what we’re going to find.
In the meantime I dug out my Mehu-Liisa steamer for doing elderberries tomorrow. You might remember we left off by putting those elderberries in the fridge after they were rinsed and forked from the stems. This is the best investment I’ve ever made when it comes to fruit that you can’t pit and don’t want to use the pulp. I use it every year for elderberries, as well as grapes, cherries and something else I’ll surprise you with.