My beautiful sister passed away suddenly on the first of December. I am heartbroken, but I doubt if anyone could claim more rich and wonderful memories that I can with my sister. She was my best friend, my confidant, and my partner in adventure. I have no words for the crater her absence leaves in my life, but wow! What a friend she was, and how glad I am that I had such a sister and such a friend. The post below is our last adventure together, which I shared only a few months ago, but it seems right to share it again because I treasure it.
While my husband and I were in Oregon for the memorial service and to help clear her things, we ate some of these wonderful huckleberries, jam-packed with laughter and joy, every morning for breakfast in our oatmeal. There are a million memories of her I wish I could share, but this was quintessential Nancy, and I wanted to share it with you all once again.
A Berry Yummy Time
Huckleberry picking with my sister in Oregon. I’ve wanted to do it forever, but could never seem to manage my visit to coincide with the elusive fruit in season. Finally I managed! And the experience did not disappoint. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get to camp while we picked.
Official picking tools: a plastic ice cream bucket clipped onto a belt to free up both hands for the yummy, but backbreaking, task at hand.
The delightful fruits of our labours are the wild cousin to the blueberry, smaller and much more tart, tiny round packets of tastebud titillation.
In the UK, they are closely related to bleaberries and bilberries. We picked three days and over that time managed nearly three gallons of berries. LOTS of work.
But time spent in the sunshine on the wild flank of Mount Hood is SO worth the effort.
And yes, it was sunny, though from the distance where I’d taken this photo, the clouds hadn’t cleared yet. This is a little closer to our destination.
Oh, and did I mention lunches at one of the best cafes in the world?
We seldom picked later than three in the afternoon.
By that time the back was not caring at all about the belly’s greed, and of course we ate almost as many as we picked. Well, in the beginning at least.
I had to pick frantically to keep up with my sister who is an expert at the job. She always managed more than I did, even with her ‘one for the bucket, one for the mouth’ technique.
And then there was clean-up before we headed home. The remnants of huckleberry stains from three days of picking were still with me when I got on the plane back to the UK.
At home, the berries had to be cleaned and bagged, then put in the freezer.
All this happened while we laughed and chatted about the wonderful day we’d had.
BUT! We always made sure we’d left plenty out for the best part of the day, the reward at the end …
Homemade huckleberry pancakes for dinner!
Nancy Thomas, my dearest sister, you will be missed.