I proclaimed today to be Mulberry-Picking Day. Ready or not, here we come!
I grabbed the 4YO, the now-traditional Easter basket, and some raincoats, and we headed back to the Charles River. Some of the mulberries were nice and ripe, and those we picked. Unfortunately, most of the best ones were out of arm's reach. It seems I’m not the only one who knows about these berries (and, from what I can tell, they all have a good six inches on me). I pulled the branches down as low as they would go, but the birds only mocked me more. The berry-laden upper two-thirds of the trees are their domain, you see, and as much as I’d love to, I can’t be climbing trees. I’ve spent enough time in hospitals.
Luckily, on our walk, we found the perfect grabber stick. It was about 6 feet long, light but sturdy, with three short branch stumps sticking out like stick-figure fingers. With that, I was able to make contact with high branches and shake them until the berries fell to the ground. The 4YO thought that was the funniest thing—having berries rain down over our heads and shoulders. The trick was then to try to tell which berries just fell and which ones had been down there for a while. Most of what we collected got eaten. The rest will be scattered over tonight’s salad.
On the walk back, we saw all kinds of different birds and a pair of turtles.
A far-sighted great blue heron nearly knocked me over as we crossed a footbridge. I didn’t even see him coming until we were face to face. I could have touched him. The 4YO, being 10 paces ahead, didn’t get to see him, which is too bad because he’s crazy about birds. He practically has the Peterson guide memorized. As for me, I know the obvious birds. The ones with the most blatant colors and markings, like cardinals and goldfinches and Baltimore orioles. I can identify the shit out of a red-winged blackbird. It’s all the other brownish-grayish birds that are a little murky.
We noticed a cute gray bird swooping down and catching insects in midair over the lily pads. It was really fun to watch and the 4YO was giggling. Then he yelled out, Eastern kingbird! I thought he meant kingfisher, which it clearly wasn’t since I know those are blue and most likely eat fish, but I was encouraging anyway. When we got home, we looked up the bird in the guidebook and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t an eastern kingbird!