... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next fridge door belongs to my friend Martha, in Cincinnati.

* Discussion *

What's your idea of the best place to live?

Talk about it here.


The Hammer of Eden
Ken Follett


This Week in No. California

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.

Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.

That's it for today!


11 August 2001

In another journal this morning, I read, Huckleberries are tiny sour little berries that only grow in the mountains. For years as kids we were given paper cups and sent out to pick them so we could have a pie. Huckleberry pie is okay, but I purely hate picking berries now, and would do anything to get out of it.


I haven't thought about huckleberries in a long time.

In the days when the kids were growing up, our friends Richard and Michele owned property in Mendocino County (well, they still do, I think!). Because their son's name is Eric, the kids all referred to the land as "Eric's property," and to this day we still all call it "Eric's property."

These were our camping days (the only way a family of 7 could afford to go on a vacation!) and we frequently went on camping trips to Eric's property with other families, usually Michele & Richard and Char (whose magnets I just posted this past month) & Mike and their kids. We'd be out in the redwood trees, with lots and lots of privacy and the kids could run wild.

The property was so private that the outhouse didn't have a door on it. it was up on a hill, with its back to the campground, and you posted a flag to let people know it was occupied. Then you could sit there, looking out over the mountains, watching the fog creep in among the trees below....and because it was an open air outhouse, you didn't have to worry about the horrible smell that usually comes with such places.

We had all the amenities. The campground was divided into various areas. The "kitchen" even came with an "etagère" where we kept supplies. And there was a generator that hooked up to Richard's truck so we could fix gin fizzes in the morning.

In those days we were all into sourdough. We all had sourdough starters and made lots and lots of stuff out of sourdough. A favorite was always sourdough pancakes.

Char was in charge of the starter and on cold nights would take it into her tent to keep it warm. We joked about her sleeping with her sourdough.

But before you could have sourdough pancakes, we had to have huckleberries. Sourdough pancakes in the open air are wonderful, sourdough huckleberry pancakes are to die for.

It was Tim who discovered the huckleberries. He was sitting on a log next to the fire pit when he looked at this little bush next to him and asked his parents what those little berries were. That's when we suddenly realized we were sitting in huckeberry heaven. Surrounded by huckleberry bushes.

Huckleberries are indeed "tiny little berries," though not really sour. They are blueberry wannabes and it takes a LOT of work to harvest a cup of the little buggers. But what else do you have to do when you're out in the woods with no TV? We all became hunters and gatherers. We had our cups--cans with rope handles attached to them, and we would go off, singly or in pairs, to search for the elusive huckle.

The day we discovered Super Bush was a red letter day. This bush dripped with huckleberries. You could stand there for hours stripping berries into your cup and still not make a dent in the supply. In fact, the only reason you eventually moved on to a new bush was because you were bored with standing in the same place and wanted a new hill to perch precariously on.

At the end of the day there was the Sorting Process ("quality control"). In the gathering of huckleberries, there comes a lot of debris, so the berries had to be hand picked through, removing leaves, bits of bush, and other crud. And then the berries washed. Only then were they ready to go into the batter for sourdough pancakes.

But oh...the fruits of our labors were definitely worth it. Seated around the campfire, each of us with paper plates stacked tall with huckleberry sourdough pancakes swimming in maple syrup. It doesn't get any better than this!

At the end of the weekend, we would divide up the leftover berries and each take our "black gold" home to be used, sparingly, over the year to brighten up things like cornbread, muffins, and yes, more sourdough pancakes.

We haven't answered the call of the wild huckle in a long time. Though I have no desire to go back to camp again at Eric's property (and I know Char isn't eager to sleep with her sourdough any more), I think back fondly on those days. Those were the good times.

One Year Ago:
People Watching

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 8/10/01 by Bev Sykes