Taming the Wild Blueberry - Field Book Project

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Monday, 14 March 2011


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Irene Schubert

While northern St Louis County (MN) is not Canada, it's damn close. I remember my parents going north of Virginia toward International Falls to pick blueberries, leaving us kids behind. They carried big washtubs - the galvanized ones that were about 36-42" in diameter and 18-24" high. They filled them with wild blueberries from the northern swamps in 1 to 2 days of picking. Mom would come home very happy with their success even though this meant a few days of canning. Once she had a freezer she tried to freeze some, but they were never as satisfactory as canned berries for pies.

Mom was a vacuum cleaner kind of picker - once she found a good patch she would pick every berry within reach. Dad (Arthur) was a wanderer - always looking for a better patch after picking off the most fruitful bushes. Once Mom was picking on one side of some bushes and heard some rustling around on the other side. "Are you finding some good berries over there, Art?" Rustle, rustle. (A bit louder because Dad's hearing was not so great. ) "Are finding some good berries over there, Art?" Still no answer. She tried one more time, even louder. No answer, so she got up and stomped around the bush. And came face to face with a black bear. Who was as frightened as she was, but the bear was faster in getting out of there. (It was years later, as a library student taking a Children's Lit. class at the U of Denver when I read Blueberries for Sal and was charmed by the familiarity of the story.)


Great highlight, Lesley. Thanks!

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Field Book Project Website

The Field Book Project is an initiative to increase accessibility to field book content that documents natural history. Through ongoing partnerships within and beyond the Smithsonian Institution, the Project is making field books easier to find and available in a digital format for current research, as well as inspiring new ways of utilizing these rich information resources.
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