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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Things I Love Thursdays

I love exploring the prairies.  There is so much to learn, even though I have lived here pretty much all my life (away for first job in my 20's).  Looking closer - and closer still... I learn so much about native plants.  I really enjoy that.  Plant identification is so broad when you take seasons into account.  On Sunday I went for another trip to Cranberry Flats.  This time I went with my whole family.  (bear with me ...)  I joked to them that I have yet to find the Cranberries.  It is called 'Cranberry Flats' for that reason of course, right?  When I grew up, cranberries came from a can.  When I was older, they were a really cool band.  : )   I don't know that I have ever seen a real, live cranberry though!  lol

The first thing I noticed  was this.  It's a HUGE mass of roses near the parking lot... now big plump & juicy rosehips.  These are not cranberries.

photo 1

The grasses are all blonde, and those deeper greens are junipers.  We walked a little further and came across this.  It's a funny little shrub.  It was bare with the exception of red, red berries.  I don't know what they are or how I'd identify it without the leaves present.  It was growing right in a bed of juniper.

photo 2

I can only assume they are not cranberries since it's the only little thing there like it.  How could they name a whole area after a 2 ft tall branch?  We moved on...  We passed the rasperries.  No cranberries here.

photo 3

I saw a lot of these little white berry clusters along the boardwalk that heads to the lookout point.  I am pretty sure these are not cranberries either.

photo 4

Please id if you like!  We walked around up on the cliffs and we found these berries high above our heads.  They are in tall trees and the fruit was deep purple/black.  These are likely not cranberries either.

photo 5

We walked on.  We came to these next bushes, red in color and only about a metre high.  They were full of berries the same colour as the last photo.  I am sure these are not cranberries.  sigh.  Where are the cranberries!?  ARE there cranberries!?

photo 6

Here are a close up of berries in the junipers.  They are quite pale.  They are certainly not cranberries.

photo 7

We stopped to look around.  I had never realized that the entire hillside is carpeted in juniper!

photo 8

I went to snap some closer photos for you and HOLY COW look what I spied!

photo 9

No way!  Are these cranberries!?  They are EVERYWHERE if you look underfoot... if you look really, really close.  Millions of them are out there growing on the ground, under and within the juniper.  I know you aren't supposed to take from nature, but I took one.  I did.  And I ate it.  It was not bitter though.  It was apple-like on the inside and quite flavorless.  Are they just not ripe yet!?  Are they not cranberries?

photo 10

Wow.  I need an interpreter to take me around out there are do some explaining. : )  I googled 'cranberries' when I got home and I swear it's them.  I also looked at the flowers for cranberries when they bloom, and they look just like little shooting stars.  I can't wait to see that next year.

So - let this post serve as Sunday Snapshots as well.  I'm off to drive 5 hrs east for a weekend of teaching.  I will see you next Tuesday. : )  Take care!


HollyM said...

Wow, your photos are beautiful! I've not actually seen cranberries in the field either, so I don't know. They sort of look like I, maybe a little paler. It's hard to tell. You will have to find out!

Shan said...

You could always gather the juniper berries and make a little gin! I'm guessing the red berries might be kinickinick. High bush cranberries are just that - on higher bushes :)

Jeito Mineiro de Ser said...

As fotos são lindas!
A vegetação das pradarias é muito muito diferente daqui os "campos de montanhas".
Sucesso no fim de semana de ensino.
Um abraço!

The photos are beautiful!
The vegetation of the prairies is very very diferent here "fields of the mountains."
Success at the weekend schools.

Terri said...

I've found that if you leave the oranges on the tree for an extra month or two (perfect storage) they get really sweet, and unbelievably yummy. I think your cranberries are ripening on the bushes, and are not so sour as if they had been harvested earlier.
Love the photos! Love that you are interested in plants, I am, too.
Have a lovely trip, and a fun teaching experience.

marsha said...

the white berries in photo 4 could be poison ivy!! Not sure....but as the saying goes:
Leaves of three, let it be! Berries white, take flight!

elle said...

High bush cranberry is what I know! yes, poison ivy. That's what I was thinking. I have that in my bush! :(

Unknown said...

Hi Monica, I think the berries in photo 5 are chokecherries. They are a sour berry that puckers your mouth as well as having a huge pit in their centre BUT they make great jelly and even better chokecherry syrup to put on waffles Sunday morning!
Bev from central Alberta

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

I live up in alaska and we have crandberries everywhere on the tundra. They are close to the ground like that and you can't really take a step for fear of stepping on a bush of them. I don't know about other places but the cranberries up here don't tend to start ripening until after the first frost so the best time to pick them is about a week after the first good frost. At that time they will start to turn a darker red and they will be mostly sweet with a little bit of tartness.

Dahn said...

Those are chokeberries-yuck. The cranberries look just like these but they are a shiny red, while the chokeberries are a dull red. Same leaves, same size. Also--chokeberries are white with a texture like mashed potatoes and the cranberries are more moist and transparent.
I pick a LOT of berries this time of year. PS--you should be here, it is magnificant!

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

Hi everyone. I found out by local experts that the berries are Kinnickinnick. The insides were flavorless and similar texture to a dry apple. I have yet to find the cranberries! :)

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

I wonder if chokeberries and kinnickinnick are the same thing?? :) Gee Dahn! I am teaching near the Manitoba/US border. I am here for several days and then off to Edmonton. I ddon't know if I can squeeze it in... and I do not want to show up once everthing is covered. Playin' it be ear... :(

Anonymous said...

Jeez-louise Monika, don't eat unidentified berries! ;) Neat to see all those junipers, even if there weren't any cranberries! Chokecherries are somewhat tasty if you don't mind a bitter/sour/very dry aftertaste! - Katie

Janice Reynolds said...

Photo 6 looks like a misplaced cotoneaster. you'd find hedges of them in towns and cities. I have a hedge of them in my town. Beautiful fall colour and black berries.

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