‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Sunday, October 7, 2007

very possibly the most Fun Monday ever

I think it's a regional thing, but people around here absolutely refuse to use their front doors. So I'm glad I'm not expected to write about the view of/from mine. I couldn't recognize it in a line-up. And I think at this point it's so overgrown I would need a compass and a machete to find it. From the inside.

So for today's Fun Monday post, I chose to look across the street at my most favorite thing to look at (in the neighborhood): the cranberry bog. It hasn't been worked in several years and has grown up with brambles and trees and whatever else I can't recognize (poison ivy, for instance). I have been meaning to go over there because I heard there were still cranberries and every autumn I think about how fun it would be to go pick them. But it's a bog and I don't have Wellies and I am really good at thinking about how great something would be and then not doing it.

I took some pictures of it from my yard but they didn't capture how incredibly cool it is. So after 6 years of looking at the bog, I put on my gardening shoes (orange crocs so I would be easy to find if anything went desperately wrong) and headed for the trail in. The trail goes about ten feet and then it's all overgrowth. I had a report to write, so I forged ahead:

the trail in

the pond in the center

some local color

a sign of its former life as a working bog

Sadly I didn't see any cranberries. I saw something that might be cranberries, but they didn't look enough like cranberries and I figured after the Great Chestnut Debacle I should probably look them up on Ye Olde Internet.

On my way out I peeked into one of the old equipment sheds (the door was gone):

And then I really did look up cranberry plants on the internet and as I looked at them it occurred to me that the undergrowth I was trying really hard not to step on was a dense carpet of cranberry bushes. Those of you who are smarter than, say, a cranberry, probably identified them in two of the pictures above.

I am not smarter than a cranberry. But I have opposable thumbs and can look stuff up online and I also have a burning desire (not literally) to can some things. Preferably, some FREE things. Like cranberries.

Picking cranberries is more like an Easter egg hunt than regular berry picking. For starters, lots of the leaves are the color of the cranberries so they're not so easy to spot. And in this particular bog the berries are few and far between - except in the places where it looks like the Easter Bunny got tired of hiding them and dumped a whole pile. As the sun got lower it was slightly easier to see them, but by then I had been crawling around for an hour and, as it turns out, had only gotten enough for six 8 oz. jars of cranberry sauce.

I am not sure how often I'll go back. What with the coyotes and foxes and creepy crawly things, it's just a little forbidding. But also very peaceful. And gratifying. And it's been there all this time.

For the record, one level beach bucket (child size) is the perfect amount for those six jars of sauce.

"Plink!" says the lid of my cooling canning jars.


Willowtree said...

Very nice pictures. I must confess that I'm a bit confused though. Are you an Expat? There wouldn't be too many Americans referring to gumboots as Wellies. But then your spelling is American.

Pamela said...

on my way! Love to explore - and have yet to ever visit a cranberry bog.

Lots of birds???

Hootin'Anni said...

PRETTY!!!! And cranberries too?

Jenny said...


her indoors said...

thats somewhere i would enjoy taking a walk

Lisa said...

LOL,I NEVER use my front door (I live in Ct.) I love to visit my parents on the Cape in the fall to see the workers 'culling" (?) the cranberry bogs.
Great pictures, thanks for taking the hike!

Myanderings said...

A cranberry bog across the way? What riches! Enjoy your canning!

Susan said...

Lisa- the store I mentioned (Orleans Whole Food Store) is the size of the cheese section of Whole Foods. You should still get excited about visiting, just not about shopping at Whole Foods. We still don't have one!

Karina said...

Not only did you have some wonderful photos to share for Fun Monday, but you got cranberries out of the deal too? Sounds like a Fun Monday to me! ;-)

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

A cranberry bog. Your hood rocks. I would love to be able to walk across the street & find dinner.

Deb said...

oh my god, now that is a vision of fall! Beautiful!

Amanda said...

HOW WONDERFUL! I think I like your cranberry bog the best yet. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Karmyn R said...

I would love to explore there! I've never seen a cranberry bush, so wouldn't know what I was looking at.

mjd said...

Indeed, you have made this a Fun Monday. I love bogs. Does your bog have any insectivorous plants?

susan said...

What a fun little trek through the blog. Canned cranberries...how kewl is that!

Kaytabug said...

Oh what beautiful pictures! I was relaxed just looking at these photos and reading your words!

my4kids said...

Beautiful pics and you got cranberry sauce out of it as well! I love cranberry sauce.

theotherbear said...

What a cool cranberry bog!
If I used m y back door to exit the house I would have to climb a 6 foot fence to get to the street :)

Susan said...

Wow - thanks everybody! I tried to visit all the posts today. What a cool world we live in.

Willowtree - I am not an Expat. I have no idea why I've always wanted Wellies. It must be in the blood from previous generations.

Pamela - not so many birds when I was there, but there's a heap-o-quail that stroll across the street for a visit from time to time. Love quail.

Hootin'anni - yep! if you look down long enough to notice that you're stepping on them.

Jenny - thanks!

Her Indoors - yes and no - lots of briars and other unfriendliness getting in, which makes it a kind of sanctuary once you've broken through. And not as mucky as I expected.

Lisa - okay, after picking cranberries by hand I now have a rich appreciation for why they flood the bogs and float them out.

myanderings - I am lousy at canning, but how can I go wrong with free produce?

karina - I had no idea this would be so much fun. I blog therefore I live.

anglofile - one of the foxes walked across the street and ate one of our chickens for dinner, so I figure it all works out in the end.

deb - I think it will probably get even prettier as the weather cools. It's spectacular on misty days. And thanks!

Amanda - I especially enjoyed your neighborhood, too!

Karmyn - that makes two of us! They're scrubby and short and you're probably stepping on it.

mjd - insectivorous plants? I don't think so, but then, I barely recognized the plant I was looking for! I also heard there's some kind of moss that grows in cranberry bogs that's supposed to be great mulched into gardens. Wish me luck finding it.

Susan - in theory! I won't admit to how they come out.....

kaytabug - Oh I'm so glad. I wish I could offer you a cup of tea while you're all relaxed.

my4kids - I love cranberry sauce too, even when it's a little runny... Ironically, most of the people I have Thanksgiving with prefer canned cranberry sauce (the kind without cranberry bits). Whatever.

uncaring bear - if I had gone out the back door of my last place I would be on a fire escape descending into the alley.

Tiggerlane said...

A cranberry bog sounds ultra-interesting, but lots of painstaking work to fish out the berries.

What a cool post for Fun Monday!