Small jewels of Madrone nestled in pathways and under bush- from yesterday's strong wind.  Hard to resist gathering such red beauties.  A friend, a few years back shared her love of gathering the ripe berries, as they fell (as they are well above human reach, while in the tree!). 

This year was an amazing year for berries on Vashon, I couldn't keep up with the ripeness of Salmonberry, Blueberry, Strawberry and Raspberry and then came the Blackberry.  I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flower and fruit of the Black Elderberry bush that has been in my garden for three years now.  Without a freezer through the season, I worked to dehydrate what I could, making Strawberry fruit leather, and drying some berries for winter stores, but mainly savored and shared the bounty, throughout the harvest season, to which I am grateful.

This fall brought on the heaviest fruiting of Salal, Huckleberry and Madrone berry that I have ever seen, I feel there are enough for the birds to feast on so I enjoy a small harvest myself, as each walk in the wood finds branches laden with clusters of sweet black fruits and red jewels nestled on the earth!   As I walk I catch a glimpse of mushroom fruit-bodies here and there- some in clusters upon fallen wood, some singly pushing up through soil surface.  As I look and learn a bit more about these musky smelling beauties I also find Madrone berries to collect in my basket- to string later and hang behind the wood stove.  They dry darker and shrink to about half the size- I string them on a heavy thread and sometimes to produce a larger hole for stringing- I use a piece of wire.  As I string the berries, the fire is warming my yurt, the berries give a hint of citrus as songbirds are busy outside feasting on the berries, high up in the Madrone.  While I tend to my task, I glance out my door- which is my winter window to the outside- a sweet nuthatch is flitting from beam to beam of the covered porch feasting on insects and possibly spiders in the places where one wood beam joins to another- Hummingbird darts in and out at the feeder.  My time here- now that the flaps are down for winter- is mostly experienced through sound, what a delight to catch a glimpse of such beauty through my window!

The Madrone beads are almost dry and soon I will craft some gifts while at the fire during the dark evenings of December.  Winter does invite such crafting as this, a time to slow down and rest, a time to reflect and dream.

May your dreamings be rich and your awakenings be lovely.

Linda C Moore 2017